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James Tissot was a French painter and illustrator, and one of Degas’ mentors. Tissot is a famous genre painter who adored showcasing biblical scenes. While his artwork has realist principles, his paintings often veered towards Impressionism in a decorative style.
The stunning piece describes the masterful artistry of the Impressionism painter Edgar Degas. Tissot also adored showcasing women in social settings. A similar adoration to Degas who often portrayed ballerinas, alongside nude woman. Tissot was believed to be a sort of mentor to Degas, alongside a contemporary and friend. Tissot also had a relationship with the artist Edouard Manet. All of these artists had a similar touch within their work, alongside other contemporaries Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet.
The Portrait Of James Tissot is a captivating piece that captures the viewer to immerse themselves within the piece. Degas was a brilliant artist who was able to incorporate endless elements within his work to guide the viewer’s attention towards whatever area he felt was necessary. Degas also creates a few other portraits, even though mostly woman. These pieces include Madame Gobillard Yves Morisot, General Mellinet And Chief Rabbi Astruc, and Woman Seated On A Balcony. While Degas still remains praised as the artist who adored ballerinas, his portraits are some of his finest work that often go unnoticed. Since portraits do not often tell a story, viewers aren’t as captivated. Yet, rather it is those paintings with a known story but still unknown elements that go on to be most prominent.
The portrait showcases Tissot seated on an armchair in a side profile. The man turns the upper part of his body to more so face the viewer. He then turns his head completely to capture the viewer’s gaze. The body formation of Tissot seems rather staged, and slightly deformed. Since his head is slightly of centre, but the rest of his body remains in a side profile, the piece is rather captivating. Degas shines a light source from above that illuminates Tissot’s face. Endless bright shades fill the canvas, highlighting the dark brown wall behind him. Tissot is dressed in a black shirt, who’s details are difficult to make out. Alongside, beige brown pants that gently craves in certain areas. On his feet, small black shoes are worn.
The interesting elements to notice throughout the piece are the paintings. The setting seems to be based in an art studio, that might indeed be Tissot’s. As an artist who often depicted others in his work, it had to have been a surreal experience to be the muse for once. The dark setting is decorated by the various paintings throughout. To the right, it seems that a biblical painting is being worked on, while another leans against the wall. The viewer is unable to exactly make out the scenes within the painting. Near the top of the canvas, another Japanese styled painting is showcased. While Tissot commonly showcased classic Parisian social settings or biblical stories within his work, he often dabbled in Japanese art. Japanese paintings had already made their way to France and were adored as being immensely exotic and foreign. To the left of the painting, another Japanese painting is slightly evident covered in bright flowers. Based on all of this evidence, it is quite clear that the portrait is set in Tissot’s studio. The final interesting element to note is the small portrait behind Tissot of a man in a hat with a light blue background. The viewer’s eyes fall onto the small painting.