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The Magnificat (Le magnificat)

James Tissot

European Art

With this scene, Tissot continues to explore Mary’s role in the “Divine plan,” as the artist called the biblical narrative. Mary prays or “sings” her praise of God for giving her a part to play in humankind’s redemption.

While The Annunciation underscored the Virgin’s humble station and modesty, here she stands with head and hands raised to the sky as she utters what Tissot characterizes as a “quiet, reverent, whispered expression of a spirit moved to its very depths.” Her relatives Elizabeth and Zacharias (the parents of John the Baptist, a childhood companion, and later the precursor, to Jesus) look on with a mixture of curiosity and concern. Tissot locates this scene in a verdant garden, most likely to emphasize the Virgin’s fertility.
MEDIUM Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES 1886–1894
    DIMENSIONS Image: 9 15/16 x 4 5/8 in. (25.2 x 11.7 cm) Sheet: 9 15/16 x 4 5/8 in. (25.2 x 11.7 cm) Frame: 20 x 15 x 1 1/2 in. (50.8 x 38.1 x 3.8 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Signed lower left: "J.J. Tissot"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    ACCESSION NUMBER 00.159.19
    CREDIT LINE Purchased by public subscription
    PROVENANCE 1900, purchased from the artist by the Brooklyn Museum.
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    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION James Tissot (Nantes, France, 1836–1902, Chenecey–Buillon, France). The Magnificat (Le magnificat), 1886–1894. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Image: 9 15/16 x 4 5/8 in. (25.2 x 11.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.19 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 00.159.19_PS1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 00.159.19_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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