The following was written after Tissot’s death by his friends:
The Old and the New Testament was illustrated oftentimes; copper engravings and pictures were inserted, good and bad-looking illustrations were made – mostly, they were bad-looking; but these illustrations have never been as lively, at least not to this extent, or as diversified; they never had such a classic solemnity and this naïve, short, conventional archaism.
Tissot’s works can only be compared to Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica which mainly influenced Tissot and his Sum of Arts. Well, Tissot lived a protruding live, even if he had to face certain difficulties. But Tissot managed to revive biblical times with patience, love and passion as well as with a sense for nature, for life in past times and for the variety of colours of past centuries which will persist.
After the three hundred seventy-three tableaux he made for the Life of Jesus, he created four-hundred more; what a task!
Twenty years of work were hardly enough, and God knows, Tissot worked a lot.
He was no ordinary artist; he was eager and reticent and, while working on his tableaux in the need of perfection and success, time flew by.
So us, his friends, concluded that James’ works were saved, and why not say it loud: our deep grief for a friend mingled with an unutterable contentment. Human life fades, works of art persist.
In the spirit of these friends, I, Thomas Gottberg, webmaster of this site, would like to give as many people as possible an understanding of James Tissot’s artwork.
Special thanks goes to the translators of the French texts without whose help the realisation of this project would not have been possible.