15 February 2009

Mary Magdalene Before Conversion by James Tissot

Madeleine avant sa conversion (1886-1894). James Tissot. Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY. Image courtesy of Brooklyn Museum.

James Tissot (1836-1902) was a French artist who is probably best known for his over 700 illustrations of scenes from the Bible. Wikipedia states the following:

He disappeared from Paris, . . . and went to Palestine. In 1896 the series of 350 drawings of incidents in the life of Christ was exhibited in Paris, and the following year found them on show in London. They were then published by the firm of Lemercier in Paris, who had paid him 1,100,000 francs for them. (Over 500 related drawings, watercolors and oils are now in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum.) . . .

The merits of Tissot's Bible illustrations lay rather in the care with which he studied the details of scenery than in any quality of religious emotion. He seemed to aim, above all, at accuracy, and, in his figures, at a vivid realism, which was far removed from the conventional treatment of sacred types.

One can see this in the period realism of Magdalene's attire.

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