Chagall and the Bible Exhibit Guide

LITHOGRAPHS 2: (Rahab to Daniel)

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

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

24 | Rahab and the Spies, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1956
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

Joshua sent two Israelite spies to determine how to take the city of Jericho. The king of Jericho hears they are in the land and calls for them. Under the cover of night Rahab, a Canaanite known as the harlot, lowers the spies on a rope from the window of her house to help them escape. 

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

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

25 | Naomi and Her Daughers-in-Laws, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1956
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

But Ruth replied, “Where you go I will go and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth 1:15

Naomi’s husband and sons have died in Moab, so she decides to return to Judah her home country. Chagall pictured a scene where Naomi and her two childless daughters-in-law confer to determine where each will go. One chooses to stay, but the other, Ruth, decides to go with Naomi. She had no idea of the outcome of her commitment or that Christ would come from her descendants.

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

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

26 | Ruth Gleaning, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1960
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

Marc Chagall dedicated a sequence of five lithographs to the chapter of Ruth. Here Ruth and Boaz first meet when Ruth is gleaning grain (as the poor are allowed to do) left behind by harvesters, in what happens to be Boaz's field. On learning who she is, Boaz instructs his men to see that some grain is left for her, and to allow Ruth to glean "even among the sheaves" without reproach.

 
 
27. Chagall, Meeting of Ruth&Boaz 1960 copy.JPG

27 | Meeting of Ruth and Boaz, detail
Lithograph
Verve: Vol 37/38 Summer 1960 Bible Suite
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

Chagall shares with us the moment when Ruth and Boaz first meet. Chagall stresses Boaz’ friendliness and generosity, with which he receives the foreign woman after he had heard about her diligence when collecting ears of grain (Ruth 2:4). The warm shades of brown and red he used in this painting radiate harmony and a feeling of security and already reveals what is going to happen next.

 
 
28. Chagall, Ruth at the feet of Boaz 1960 copy.JPG

28 | Ruth at the Feet of Boaz, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1960
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

“And it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall mark the place where he shall lie, and you shall go in, and uncover his feet, and lay you down, and he will tell you what you shall do.” Ruth 3:4

 The custom prevailed in Palestine of owners of crops sleeping on their threshing-floors, lying with their clothes on, but with their feet covered with a mantle. Naomi instructs her daughter-in-law of this custom so that Boaz will provide for her.

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

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

29 | Boaz Wakes up to See Ruth at His Feet, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1960
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

And he said, “Blessed be you of the LORD, my daughter: for you have showed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, in that you followed not young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to you all that you require: for all the city of my people does know that you are a virtuous woman.” Ruth 3:10-11

A rich man of Bethlehem named Boaz, full of food and drink after barley harvest, lies down to sleep by the heap of grain on his threshing floor. At midnight he awakes to find a woman lying at his feet. She is Ruth, a young Moabite widow, related to Boaz by marriage and has recently come from Moab with her Judahite mother-in-law Naomi during a famine.

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

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

30 | David with a Harp, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1956
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him. Samuel 16:23

David was a writer and musician, composing major parts of the Psalms. Chagall chose vibrant tones of red, orange and violet to portray David playing the harp. He appears intently listening to the quieting music that flows from the instrument. His face is glowing in white, which is a sign for enlightenment, bestowed by God? The purple background symbolizes the presence of God, the King and leader of Israel.

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

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

31 | David Saved by Michal, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1960
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

Michal was David’s wife. Still bent on destroying David, Saul had David’s house surrounded. In a frenzy of envy Saul had messengers watch David to slay him in the morning. But Michal’s love sensed danger and, discovering her father’s intention, she let David down through a window; and he fled and escaped. 

 

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

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

32 | David and Bathsheba, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1956
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

The story of David and Bathsheba is a one of the most dramatic and tragic stories in the Bible. By far the most loved lithograph from the two bible cycles shows the faces of two lovers, David and Bathsheba, blending into one face.

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

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

33 | David and Absalom, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1956
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

Learning of Absalom's death King David lamented, Then the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. And as he went, he said thus: 'O my son Absalom--my son, my son Absalom--if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!' 2 Samuel 18:33

 Absalom was the third son of David by Maachah. He tried to undermine David’s authority. It is especially touching to note, that in spite of Absalom's rebellion, he was still loved by his father.

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

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

34 | Solomon, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1956
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

Zodok the priest then took the horn of oil from the tent and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the trumpet and all the people said, “Long live King Solomon.” I Kings 1:39

This joyous depiction of King Solomon dancing and celebrating as he raises his hands in praise reminds us of how Chagall esteemed this leader of Israel. Surrounding him as various symbols of Jewish life: a floating woman, perhaps from the Songs of Songs; a goat in the right corner which suggests Jewish sacrifice, the Tablets of the Law in the foreground, the Menorah, and a burning city reminiscent of his beloved Vitebsk in Russia.

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

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

35 | Ahasuerus Banishes Vashti, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1960
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

The book of Esther tells the story celebrated at Purim of how Queen Esther and her cousin Mordecai saved the Jewish people from the plot of the wicked Haman, advisor to the Persian King Ahasuerus who tried to have the Jews destroyed. Ahasuerus banishes his queen Vashti for failing to appear before him when bidden. The new chosen queen is Esther, cousin and adopted daughter of Mordecai, the Jew.

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

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

36 | Esther, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1960
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

Esther, a young Israelite woman, stands tall and beautiful among her people. She became the queen to Ahasuerus of Persia and with wit she out smarts the evil Hamen and saves her people from destruction.

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

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

37 | Job in Despair, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1960
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

Job, in his despair and frustration, responds as he and his friends have been taught by previous generations to display grief; by donning sackcloth and covering the head with dust to show devastation.

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

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

38 | Job Praying, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1960
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

Job is known as a man of faith and prayer. Even in the face of devastating losses, Job clings to his faith and continued to pray to God.

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

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

39 | Isaiah, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1956
14 x 10 ¼

With the city of Jerusalem in the distance, the Prophet Isaiah’s arms are lifted high as he prophesies to the people of Israel. He tells them, “Ye hear indeed, but understand not; ye see indeed, but know not. Made obstinate is the heart of this people; their ears are heavy and their eyes shut; or else their eyes would see, their ears hear, and their hearts be understanding, in order that they repent and be healed.” Jeremiah 5.

 
 
40. Chagall, Jeremiah.jpg

40 | Jeremiah, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1956
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

Several times Jeremiah, known as the weeping prophet because he laments the spiritual condition of the Israelites, refers to a donkey in his prophecies. In this scene Chagall recalls these sayings and places Jeremiah next to a donkey in the dark of night. 

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

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

41 | Jeremiah Lamentations, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1956
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

The devastating events relating to the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BCE are the fundamental backdrop of Jeremiah’s weeping and mourning

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

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

42 | Daniel in the Lion’s Den, detail
Lithograph
Published by Verve in 1956
13 7/8 x 10 1/4

Because Daniel would not give up his prayer and faith in God, King Darius of Persia cast Daniel into the lion’s den expecting he would be destroyed, but he was untouched by the lions because the Lord has sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions.