James Tissot: Saint Joseph Seeks a Lodging in Bethlehem
This item is currently out of stock
courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
James Tissot's (1836-1902) work is not in that supposed mainstream of style that flows through the 19th and 20th centuries. He lived in the age of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism but was not really part of either of those movements. Though trained in Paris and on close terms with Degas, he chose to live in London during the most exciting years of Impressionism. He specialised in depicting scenes of everyday life, and in his portraits he developed a taste for sophisticated women, and in particular their clothes.
His Bible illustrations attracted enormous acclaim and publicity. In the biblical narrative, Mary and Joseph live in Nazareth but must journey to Bethlehem, the ancestral home of Joseph’s family, to be counted in a census imposed by the Romans. On their arrival in the town, Joseph searches for lodgings without success. Tissot contrasts Joseph’s anxious plea - calling up to townspeople in hopes of finding accommodation - with the Virgin Mary’s quiet resignation. Tissot’s expeditions to the Middle East in the 1880s provided rich source material for his watercolour compositions. The thick masonry walls and labyrinthine alleys of Jaffa, an ancient port city near modern Tel Aviv in Israel, serve here, with minor revisions, as the backdrop of Bethlehem.
the above text appears on the back of the card HC-937: card size 7" x 5" (178mm x 127mm)