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Sunday, January 06, 2008

A Modern Prodigal

James Joseph Jacques Tissot (October 15, 1836 – August 8, 1902)
The Prodigal Son in Modern Life: The Departure
c.1882
Oil on canvas
Musee des Beaux-Arts - Nantes



James Joseph Jacques Tissot (October 15, 1836 – August 8, 1902)
The Prodigal Son in Modern Life: in Foreign Climes
c.1882
Oil on canvas
Musee des Beaux-Arts - Nantes



James Joseph Jacques Tissot (October 15, 1836 – August 8, 1902)
The Prodigal Son in Modern Life: The Return (1882)
Oil on canvas
Musee des Beaux-Arts - Nantes


James Joseph Jacques Tissot (October 15, 1836 – August 8, 1902)
The Prodigal Son in Modern Life: The Fatted Calf
c.1882
Oil on canvas
Musee des Beaux-Arts - Nantes



The Prodigal Son was a theme which Tissot interpreted three times

He chose to paint the subject in a series

The woman at the extreme left of The Departure and at the extreme right of The Return is Mrs Newton. These are among Tissot's last paintings of his lover who died of consumption on 9th November 1882. He felt her death keenly. He never really got over the loss.

The background in The Departure shows the Thames at Greenwich and that in The Return the river at Rotherhithe. These are also his last paintings of London and the Thames.

After Kathleen Newton's burial Tissot left for Paris.

For more about the life of Tissot, see the entry in The Catholic Encyclopedia