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White crucifixion

Painting, 1938, 155×140 cm

Description of the artwork «White crucifixion»

In 1938, Marc Chagall, came from a Jewish family and received his childhood education at home (the study of the Talmud, the Torah and the Hebrew language), was shocked by the reports of Kristallnacht — the mass Jewish pogrom in Germany. Impressed by this event, the artist writes "White crucifixion"is the first painting by Marc Chagall, in which he uses the image of Jesus as a symbol of the suffering of the Jewish people. Subsequently, the artist again returned to this subject, despite the fact that in the Jewish religious tradition, Jesus is considered a Saviour.

In the painting Marc Chagall's "White crucifixion" depicts the persecution of the Jewish people, everywhere, took place in the early twentieth century. Burn in the fire ravaged houses, people crying over the bodies of dead relatives, lying on the ground the sacred scrolls — all of this is happening around the figure of the crucified Jesus, occupying the Central part of the canvas.

The artist has depicted him not, as was customary among Catholic and Orthodox icon painters, and as a religious Jew. He is wearing clothing designed for prayer — and-white prayer shawl with black stripes. Instead of a crown of thorns upon the head of Joshua white bandage. White crucifix on which Jesus is created from the light of the cross beams and the column of light pouring from the heavens — so in the interpretation of the Marc Chagall looks to overcome death; his picture seems to say to the viewer: it is impossible to destroy hope. Heavenly light symbolizes God, the face of which, according to Jewish beliefs, it is impossible to portray.

The Christian tradition of the Saviour on the painting by Chagall is associated stylized figure of a cross, the inscription, in letters INRI and a halo. On top of the crucified Martyr are the figures of the patriarchs: the face of Abraham, Jacob and Isaac are expressing despair and horror. In the bottom of the painting the artist has portrayed ordinary people: a mother holding a child and not knowing where to flee, a man with a sign on the chest (first Chagall has done on her show "I am a Jew" in Yiddish, but later painted over it). A big boat sitting in her people and vozdevaya hands to him refers to the image of the ark and gives hope for salvation.

The painting is Marc Chagall's "White crucifixion" is part of the exhibition of the art Institute of Chicago — it was a gift to the Institute Alfred Alshuler. This work, rich in strong emotions, has received high praise from Pope Francis.
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About the artwork

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Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Religious scene, Allegorical scene

Style of art: Symbolism, Primitivism (Naїv art)

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1938

Size: 155×140 cm

Artwork in selections: 10 selections

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