James Tissot 1836 – 1902

The Prodigal Son in Modern Life: The Return (1882)

oil on canvas — c. 1882 Museum National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

James Tissot biography

This work is linked to Luke 15:21

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Tissot places the story of the prodigal son who returns to his father repenting in a contemporary context. The son's ship has just come in and his father awaits him at the quay.

Perhaps Tissot was inspired by this depiction of the story by Rembrandt. Here too the bystanders look on in silence, impressed by the scene. Twenty years earlier, Tissot made a Prodigal son set in Paris.

Tissot lived in London when he made this painting. He enjoyed spending time in the Port of London and often used it as a setting for his work.

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