Marc Chagall - White Crucifixion
Marc Chagall, The White Crucifixion, Paris 1938
About the cross: The forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as well as Rahel
are lamenting the Schoách (Horror) and the children of Betlehem,
"and refuse to be consoled, because they are not any more."
Below the foot of the cross is the 7-armed Menóra (sabbatical candlestick),
the "white perpetual light" illuminates the whole cross up to the image border
on top on the right (top and right side is like good, divine).
An Easter light in cross and suffering!
Jesus Christ: he carries a Jewish headscarf,
both hands praying outstretched in shape of "Tau"
(the last letter into Hebrew, so "for everybody"),
the Hebrew inscription,
ladder (Jacob's ladder, God's trust).
Dream of the patriarch Jacob (sky ladder)
In the upper-left corner,
there are victims of Soviets
behind a protective fence inside an inhabited place
On top on the right the terror of the Nazi,
violence against the Lion of Juda,
the stone icons of the ten orders of God,
the Synagogue is completely profaned, destroyed, given to the flames,
the curtain of the most Holy one is in the mud of the road,
fire on the houses, fire in the villages,
boat people - the refugees of the sea,
terror from the right
and terror from the left
in the heart of Europe in the twentieth century!
Peacefully in the midst of the houses of Vitebsk a family on the street, maybe Chagall himself. The young artist in 1917 was hoping for freedom and was engaged for solidarity with the arms - but a few months later disappointed he fled from Russia, forever. And the same happens in many countries and towns, everywhere on all continents.
Completely below on the left a man saves the Tora's role,
we see a prisoner from the concentration camp,
the crying rabbi.
Below on the right the forever fleeing Jew (Ahasver),
sacred books in the mud, ancient rolls in flames.
A young woman with her child - hope in the future!
On top they all invade inside in the picture to destroy,
below they run away outside from the image to save itself.
Not Roof, not there house, the destiny of the refugees, completely in movement.
But calm and sublime the attitude of the Crucified, a contrast of firmness and of hope.
To the genesis
of this picture
In virtually Jewish-Christian manner Marc Chagall gives with his picture an answer to the famous big piece of art "Guernica" of Pablo Picasso (worlds exhibition Paris in 1937).
Chagall uses the pattern of big icons which show in the centre of the main scene, in the clock circle on the sides, however, separate particular scenes.
The person Marc Chagall was war-torn about the development in those disastrous times. He himself fled before the national-socialist Jew's pursuit to the South of France and was saved in the last second by friends to America.
The green violinist (1924)
If we trace the picture with our eyes and possibly with our finger, we discover three areas: in the middle, the violinist and above and below, scenes from Vitebsk.
In the upper left, a log cabin with a peasant scene behind the house - the richly decorated windows suggest prosperity. The palisade fence is a recognition element of the painter, behind it we can sense domestic scenes.
Roundish cloud heaps are still drifting safely in the cloudy sky. Above it the flying artist from a dream picture, Chagall himself with his wish "higher up" and "far into the distance".
The violet as a mixed colour of blue (sky, longing spirit) and red (fire, blood, heart) envelops the violinist and colours the roof of the log cabin and the flying figure above the roofs. With what longing a figure (is it myself?) wants to fly on the wall of the house, it raises its hands in the air and already lifts off the ground.