Prophets, Priests, and Queens
James Tissot’s Men and Women of the Old Testament
May 6 – December 31
After the incredible success of his The Life of Christ series, French artist James Tissot returned to the Holy Land in 1896 to begin what would become his final artistic project: a series of over 370 watercolor illustrations depicting stories and figures from the Old Testament. Using his study of religious and scholarly sources, his own personal experiences from his travels, and his sense of artistic imagination, Tissot recreated the Bible epic from the Creation through the prophet-writers with compelling scenes that capture the drama, majesty, and reverence of its inspiring and complex stories. After Tissot’s unexpected death in 1902, this unparalleled series of images from the Hebrew Bible was fulfilled through the efforts of select artists.
Now, thanks to a generous loan from the Jewish Museum in New York City, the Museum of Art invites you to witness 129 paintings from this series in a brand new exhibition. Prophets, Priests, and Queens: James Tissot’s Men and Women of the Old Testament will captivate, inspire, and delight its visitors, be they well-versed scholars of the Old Testament, those who struggle to make it through Leviticus, or novices discovering these stories for the first time. We invite you to share in this biblical saga conveyed through Tissot’s singular lens – a fusion of studied realism, emotive insight, and faith-based vision.
To help accompany those reading the Old Testament, including those taking part in the 2022 Come, Follow Me program, we have created a virtual version of this exhibition. Tap the images below to see highlights from various sections of the Hebrew Bible, including stories you already know and love, as well as those you have yet to discover!