Oct 16, 2009

Chagall's Yellow Crucifixion

In "The Yellow Crucifixion," Jesus wears the phylacteries or tefillin donned by Orthdox Jews for their morning prayers. The off-center figure of the crucified Jesus shares the central space of the picture with a large depiction of a Torah scroll. In the lower part of the picture, burning buildings and figures in postures of agony represent the Jewish victims of the Holocaust in Chagall's native eastern Europe.
Chagall's crucifixion paintings probably inspired the plot of Chaim Potok's popular novel, My Name is Asher Lev (1972), in which the principal character is a young Jewish artist grappling with the fact that the western artistic tradition is so heavily influenced by Christian imagery and that the crucifixion image is a uniquely powerful way of expressing human suffering.


William D. Lindsey said...

Jayden, thanks for bringing this Chagall crucifixion to my attention. I know his white piece, but wasn't aware of the yellow one--or their connection to Chaim Potok's book, which I need to re-read.