Chagall and the Bible Exhibit Guide

 

LITHOGRAPHS 1 (Creation to Moses)

 
 
 Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

1. The Bible, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1956
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

Chagall surprises us with this angel who flutters its wings and bends backwards while holding the Tablets of the Law. This image was a title page for Verve, the art magazine that first published these original lithographs by Chagall on the Bible. 

 
 
 Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

2. Angel (Cover), detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1960
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

The cover of the special 1960 Verve publication was an original lithograph of a striking angel.

 
 
 Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

3. Angel with Sword, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1956
13 7/8 x 10 ¼

After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim (angel) and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:24

Adam and Eve are no longer in the Garden but have been banished by the Angel with Sword who stands guard to keep them from the Tree of Life.

 
 
 Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

4. Angel of Paradise, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1956
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

The Angel of Paradise accompanies Adam and Eve and all is quiet and at peace in the Garden of Eden.

 
 
 Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

5. Angel, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1956
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

In this series of lithographs Chagall has chosen to create four images of angels. This yellow angel is simply and directly drawn, but the mouth suggests singing.

 
 
 Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

6. Creation, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1960
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

Marc Chagall opens his 1960 Bible Suite with a stunning and imaginative depiction of creation. The ethereal blues and the floating images of birds, animals and angels swirl around a central sun/moon image. All combine to portray a celebratory view of God’s creation

 
 
 Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

7. Paradise I (Tree of Knowledge), detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1960
13 7/8 x 10 ¼

So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.  Then the man said, 
“This at last is
 bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
    because she was taken out of Man.” Genesis 1:21-23

 
 
 Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

8. Paradise II (The Green Donkey), detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1960
13 7/8 x 10 ¼

The eye naturally rests on Chagall’s bright green donkey that in biblical times was considered a peaceful and good-natured animal. The donkey’s head appears decorated as for a pageant. To the left side, Adam and Eve are visible. They enjoy the fruit of the Garden of Eden.

 

 
 
 Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

9 | Adam and Eve with Forbidden Fruit, detail
Lithograph from Verve
1960
14 x 10 1/4

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:6

 
 
 Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

10 | Eve Incurs God’s Displeasure, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1960
13 7/8   x 10 1/4

This lithograph depicts Eve, naked, and exposed, a consequence of her guilt. However, God hasn’t abandoned her. In the upper left-hand corner, there is a Hebrew tetragrammaton JHWH, the letters of God’s name Jahweh. The big tree protecting Eve with its extended branches reinforces this concept.

 
 
 Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

11 | The Face of Israel, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1960
13 7/8   x 10 1/4

Chagall has pictured an angel with a sword in the process of driving Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden after they have disobeyed his command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

 
 
 Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

12 | Banished from Paradise, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1960
13 7/8   x 10 1/4

A dramatic change occurs in Chagall’s Banished from Paradise—now the tone is one of fear and fright as Adam and Eve are driven by an angel out of the Garden of Eden. Strong reds and oranges intensify the drama.

 
 
 Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

13 | Cain and Abel, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1960
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

Chagall holds nothing back in his depiction of the story of Cain and Abel. He shows the savage act of murder as Cain thrusts a knife into the heart of Abel.

 
 
 Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

14 | Abraham and Sarah, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1956
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

The LORD had said to Abraham, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.” Genesis 12: 1

Abraham and his wife Sarah are tenderly portrayed in this delicate blue lithograph. As Sarah, in a pensive moment, touches her hand upon her throat, Abraham lovingly reaches for her shoulder. A woman mounted on a camel in the upper left corner suggests that perhaps she is considering the journey ahead as they leave their homeland to leave for distant lands that the Lord has called them to inhabit.

 
 
 Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

15 | Hagar and Ishmael in the Desert, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1960
Lithograph Published by Verve in 1956
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

Hagar clings to Ishmael (his name meaning ‘God hears’) while wandering in the desert and feeling desolate and hopeless. God heard her cry and the angel said “Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there…for I will make him into a great nation.”

 
 
 Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

16 | Sarah and the Angels, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1960
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

Chagall portrays Sarah as a beautiful woman with three angels hovering nearby. Angels played an important role in Sarah’s life—they announce that she will bear a son and they protect her from danger in a foreign country.

 
 
 Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

17 | Sarah and Abimelech, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1960
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

When Abimelech, king of Gerar, takes Sarah with Abraham’s permission, God abruptly enters into the situation to protect her, speaking to Abimelech in a dream. After God informs him that Sarah is really Abraham’s wife, Abimelech confronts Abraham.

 
 
 Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

18 | Rachael Hides Her Idols, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1960
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

This lithograph depicts Rachel leaving her father’s household to follow Jacob. She is sitting on her camel opposite her father who demands the stolen graven images that she hid in the saddlebags of her camel. She said she was unwell and prevented her father’s search.

 
 
 Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

19 | Tamar, Daughter-in-law of Judah, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1960
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

Tamar, whose husband had died, was the daughter-in-law of Judah and also the mother of two of his children. Judah ordered that she be burned to death when she was found pregnant. Tamar sent the staff, seal, and cord to Judah with a message declaring that the owner of these items was the man who had made her pregnant. Upon recognizing these items as his security, Judah released Tamar from her sentence.

 
 
 Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

20 | Moses I, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1956
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

For the 1956 suite of biblical themes Chagall has created four versions of Moses receiving the Tablets of the Law. This one portrays Moses’ face and hands in a vibrant red, almost as if on fire, while he holds the two tablets of the Ten Commandments.

 
 
 Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

21 | Moses II, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1956
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

Chagall has chosen to depict Moses clutching the two Tablets of the Law that God has given him while looking upward as to the Lord, perhaps hearing the words, “If you will indeed obey My voice and keep my covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine.” Exodus 19:5

 
 
 Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

22 | Moses III, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1956
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

As in the first images of Moses, Chagall has portrayed Moses with protrusions coming from his head. Historically these were considered horns. They were the result of a mistranslation of the Hebrew Bible into the Latin Vulgate Bible with which he was familiar. The Hebrew word taken from Exodus means either a ‘horn’ or an irradiation.”  Chagall has honored that tradition, but leans more toward the idea of rays of light emanating from the head of Moses.

 
 
 Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Detail | © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

23 | Moses Receiving the Tablets of the Law, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1956
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God. Exodus 31:18

 God’s hand extends from behind a black lightening cloud to give Moses the Tablets of the Law. Moses reaches upward to receive the Ten Commandments, with a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship for the Israelites and all coming generations.