The Religious Art of Marc Chagall

In preparing lectures for my class, recently, I have sought to include relevant pieces of artwork on the slides.  They are often fodder for discussion and interpretation themselves.  In searching for images, I have become reacquainted with the beauty and power of Marc Chagall’s artwork.

For those who don’t know, Chagall was a Jewish artist of Russian descent who lived from 1887-1985.  He has some beautiful and powerful paintings.  I was first exposed to his work while in undergrad.  A painting of his crucifixion of Jesus hung in the religion department hallway.  The image is below (“White Crucifixion”) . . . note the Holocaust imagery that surrounds the central image.  And note Jesus’ loin cloth.

Here are some of the more captivating pieces Chagall has done, in my view.

Moses and the Burning Bush

Moses and the Burning Bush

Creation, 1960

Creation, 1960

Song of Songs IV, 1958

Song of Songs IV, 1958

Moses Receives the Ten Commandments, 1966

Moses Receives the Ten Commandments, 1966

Bathsheba, 1962-63

Bathsheba, 1962-63

The Crossing of the Red Sea, 1955

The Crossing of the Red Sea, 1955

Noah's Ark, 1961-66

Noah's Ark, 1961-66

Paradise, 1961

Paradise, 1961

Noah's Ark, 1961-66

Noah's Ark, 1961-66

The Sacrifice of Isaac, 1960-66

The Sacrifice of Isaac, 1960-66

David and Bathsheba

David and Bathsheba

The Dream of Jacob, ca. 1960-66

The Dream of Jacob, ca. 1960-66

White Crucifixion

White Crucifixion

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5 thoughts on “The Religious Art of Marc Chagall

  1. Roy "Eli" Garton says:

    Very nice. I must say – and I’m not just saying this on account of your research interests — that I especially like “The Dream of Jacob.” Its palate and surreal character draw my attention . . . I actually wouldn’t mind having a full-sized print of this someday. 🙂

  2. John Anderson says:

    Thanks, Roy. I find his work beautiful and I can’t explain why.

    There are a few more Jacob pieces he has done that I may post up in the future. These were some of the goodies I could isolate with what time I had.

    I would invite you to look closely at the final picture, “White Crucifixion.” Note the Jewish/Holocaust imagery: a menorah, Jesus’ loin cloth is a talis (Jewish prayer shawl), there is a burning synagogue, and Jews fleeing the Nazis with Torah manuscripts. It is a powerful image.

  3. wspencer61 says:

    Question: what are the smaller words on the top of the cross? I recognize, I think, the INRI, but the small words I cannot make out.

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