Monday, December 20, 2010

Saint Anne

Title: Saint Anne
Artist: James Tissot
Medium: Watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
Size: 20.5 x 14.8 cm
Date: c. 1890
Location: Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York.

Luke 2:36-38: There was also a prophet named Anna. She was the daughter of Penuel from the tribe of Asher. Anna was very old. After getting married, she lived with her husband seven years. Then she was a widow until she was. She never left the temple. She worshiped night and day, praying and going without eating. Anna came up to Jesus' family at that very moment. She gave thanks to God. And she spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the time when Jerusalem would be set free.

Though no details of Anna's prophecy are given, this section completes the cycle of male and female witnesses. Again, Anna's piety is underlined by references to her old age, her faithful widowhood and her regular ministry at the temple. She is full of thanksgiving at the arrival of the child who will complete God's promise, and she speaks about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Her teaching would have been heard by all who frequented the temple. Her hope, like Simeon's, looks to the completion of what God is starting.

James Jacques Joseph Tissot (October 15, 1836 – August 8, 1902) was a French painter. After the death of his longtime companion Kathleen Newton in 1882, Tissot spent some time in Palestine. In Paris in 1896 he d├ębuted the series of 350 drawings of the life of Christ, and the following year found them on show in London. They were then published by the firm of Lemercier in Paris, who paid him 1,100,000 francs. The merits of Tissot's Bible illustrations lay in the care with which he studied the details of scenery rather than any religious sentimentality. He seemed to aim for accuracy, and, in his figures, for vivid realism, which was far removed from the conventional treatment of sacred types.

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