Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Month of Miracles Part 7 - Man With the Withered Hand

Title: The Man with the Withered Hand
Artist: James Tissot
Medium: Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
Size: 21.9 x 16 cm
Date: c. 1890
Location: Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York.

Mark 3:1-5 - Jesus entered again into a synagogue and a man with a withered hand was there. And they were watching him carefully to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath, so they could accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Get up and step forward.” And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?” But they remained silent. And after looking around at them in anger, grieved at the hardness of their heart, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched out his hand and it was restored.

When Jesus heals a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath, he flouts rules against work and further upsets the devout. Although Jewish law permitted the saving of lives on the holy day, Jesus defies the rigid rules of the Sabbath by extending his help to a man afflicted, but not threatened with death.

James Jacques Joseph Tissot (October 1836 – August 1902) was a French painter. After the death of his longtime companion Kathleen Newton in 1882, Tissot spent some time in Palestine. He began work on drawings of the life of Christ, which debuted In Paris in 1896. With the same meticulous attention to detail that he had applied to painting society, he strove for historical authenticity in his precisely rendered watercolors of the life of Christ. They were subsequently published by the firm of Lemercier in Paris, who paid Tissot 1,100,000 francs.

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