Although the Gospels are silent on the years between Christ’s childhood and his ministry—providing no specific indication of his training or education—Tissot adheres to tradition and depicts Jesus as a faithful son to his earthly father, assisting Joseph with the work of the carpentry shop. In his commentary, Tissot spurned apocryphal legends of wondrous doings by the Christ Child, insisting that such deeds would have aroused attention, whether awe or suspicion, and would have been mentioned in the Gospel accounts.
Anticipating the Passion, in which he will carry the cross, the young Jesus shoulders a board for use in the shop, while his parents look on with foreboding.
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James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). The Youth of Jesus (Jeunesse de Jésus), 1886-1894. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Image: 8 13/16 x 5 9/16 in. (22.4 x 14.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.42
Purchased by public subscription
Image: 8 13/16 x 5 9/16 in. (22.4 x 14.1 cm); Sheet: 8 13/16 x 5 9/16 in. (22.4 x 14.1 cm); Frame: 20 x 15 x 1 1/2 in. (50.8 x 38.1 x 3.8 cm)