The Return, from the Prodigal Son portfolio
Destitute and penitent, the returning son is welcomed and embraced by his father. His rags and bare feet contrast sharply with the appearance of his brother, who is looking on skeptically from his warm cocoon of a heavy overcoat.
Having grown up in the French port city of Nantes and lived in London for years, Tissot had firsthand knowledge of the social and economic dynamics of the seafaring merchant class. He revisited this milieu in several other narrative paintings and prints.