James Tissot was a popular French society painter that worked in a Realist style, which is expressed in A Passing Storm from 1876. In this painting he shows a scene, perhaps on a ship, where a girl seems perturbed and lies on a chaise lounge in the foreground, averting her gaze from the tempest outside.
Her expression is simultaneously absorbed in thought. Outside the cabin, a man stands facing in, seemingly unmoved by both the sound and the dramatic lightning of the sky, which Tissot makes very changeable and menacing. Perhaps the artist is contrasting the superstition of youth with the deadening experience of age.
James Tissot’s A Passing Storm is in the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.