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    'Twixt two worlds: the visions of James Tissot

    Buron, Melissa Eileen (2022) 'Twixt two worlds: the visions of James Tissot. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    Abstract

    James Tissot (1836–1902) is typically remembered for his compositions of fashionably dressed women and debonair men, which seem to celebrate materiality over spirituality. Yet Tissot's most ambitious artistic effort was as a visionary religious painter. From 1885 until his death, in 1902, he was consumed by an extraordinary campaign to meticulously research and illustrate the Bible, ultimately creating hundreds of watercolours depicting scenes from the Old Testament and the New Testament, the latter under the series title The Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ or The Life of Christ(ca. 1886–1894). This thesis presents a new understanding of the Life of Christ illustrations, for which the artist is least well known today, although they brought him more fame and commercial success than any other work during his lifetime. While Tissot committed to this project of painstakingly researching his illustrations for The Life of Christ, he did not hide his simultaneous enthusiasm for Spiritualist mediums and séances. This thesis examines how and to what extent the visual languages of two systems of belief—Spiritualism and Catholicism—informed Tissot's Life of Christ watercolours. By interpreting the Life of Christ illustrations through these dual lenses, this thesis presents an entirely original assessment of these works of art that fully reveals their complexity and originality. Reinterpreting key images in Tissot's The Life of Christ with this fresh perspective provides a new understanding of their historical context and a critical reappraisal of their significance, thus demonstrating the extent to which Tissot was an artist perpetually "'twixt two worlds.'

    Metadata

    Item Type: Thesis
    Additional Information: 2 Volumes: Volume 1: Text, Volume 2: Illustrations
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2022 16:20
    Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 16:45
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/47551

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