Christian Articles Archive

Brief Biography of Bible Illustrator James J. Tissot

collected by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

James J. Tissot (1836-1902)James J. Tissot (French painter and illustrator, 1836-1902) was a well-known French impressionist painter. But after his model and mistress commited suicide at the age of 28 in 1882, his heart began to turn toward spiritual things. He visited the Holy Land in 1886-87 and in 1889 for careful geographical and ethnographic studies. During the latter part of his career he produced a series of 700 watercolor drawings to illustrate the Life of Christ (published 1896) and the Old Testament. His New Testament paintings are part of the collection of the Brooklyn Museum, while his Old Testament paintings are for the most part owned by the Jewish Museum of New York.

In my opinion, Tissot is one of the most accurate painters of any age who has sought to depict the events and scenes of the Bible. In the Holy Land he sketched hundreds of scenes and individuals from life, and then developed well composed Bible paintings based on both his careful research and accurate drawings.

Though some of these Bible watercolors are available in subscription-based clipart collections and in online poster stores online, the quality and size of most of his pictures just aren't very good. Below I have linked to the best copies of his work on the Passion of Christ that I could find online — some obviously much better than others. Where the name of a painting is not hyperlinked, that means that I could not identify a known painting title with a corresponding online reproduction.

I hope you enjoy Tissot's exquisite work as much as I have. — Pastor Ralph

Now see The Passion of Christ Illustrated by James J. Tissot

Christian Art and Paintings: Abraham Art | Agnus Dei Art | Angel Art | Annunciation Art | Celtic Stone Cross Art | Christian Symbols and Art | Christmas Art | David | Easter Art | Passion of Christ by Tissot | Hebrew-Jewish Art | Holy Week Art | Jacob | Jesus' Ministry Art | Jesus' Teaching Art | Jesus Portraits and Art | John the Baptist | John the Apostle | Lamb of God Art | Last Supper Art | Madonna & Child Art | Moses and the Exodus | Names of God Art | OT Misc Art | Psalms Art | Palm Sunday Art | Paul Art and Paintings | Day of Pentecost Art | Peter Art and Paintings | Prayer Art | Resurrection Art | Revelation Art | Thanksgiving and Pilgrims Art | Timothy Art and Paintings
Copyright of artwork. Much, but not all, of the artwork linked to on this site is in the public domain worldwide due to the date of death of its author (if it is was published outside of the U.S. and the author has been dead for over 70 years), or due to its date of publication (if it was first made public in the U.S. before 1923), at least in the United States (see Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp.), in Germany, and in many other countries.

Copyright © 1985-2014, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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