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Off Topic: Descent from the Cross

imageI’ve long been a fan of Marc Chagall, the Russian Jewish 20th Century modernist. Right now, through February 2, there is an exhibit, Chagall: Love, War, and Exile at the Jewish Museum on Manhattan’s upper east side. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to work in a trip to New York to see the exhibit.

Religious News Services is reporting about it:

NEW YORK (RNS) At a moment when the world is flush with new books and ever-evolving interpretations of Jesus, one of the last century’s artistic masters is providing art lovers with a striking take on the first-century religious figure.

The first U.S. exhibition exploring the “darker works” of Marc Chagall (1887-1985) shows a Jewish artist obsessed with Jesus.

Chagall: Love, War, and Exile,” at The Jewish Museum in New York showcases the work of the Russian-French artist during World War II as he tried to make sense of a world gone mad.

Of particular interest are paintings depicting the crucified Jesus — depictions that are often read as metaphors not only for war but the particular expressions of Jewish suffering and persecution in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s.

One painting, among many that I particularly like, is Descent from the Cross (1941) (pictured above). It reminds me of the second illustration in the Hungarian Pray Manuscript (pictured to the left).

It is interesting to note that Chagall often painted Jesus with a halo. In most of his crucifixion works, he depicted Jesus wearing a loincloth with a tallit-style pattern. In one famous work, Apocalypse en Lilas: Capriccio, Chagall depicts Jesus naked on the cross above a storm trooper with a backwards swastika.

You may click on the images for larger versions

Note: Descent from the Cross, 1941, (upper right), ink and gouache on paper, 19 1/2 x 12 7/8 in. Collection of the Rastegar Family, California. © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris. Photo courtesy of The Jewish Museum. This image is available for Web, courtesy of the Jewish Museum.

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