Crucifixion blanche (1938)

Chagall, Marc (1887-1985)

Crucifixion blanche (White Crucifixion)
Oil on canvas, 154.6 x 140 cm
Art Institute of ChicagoChicago

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

White Crucifixion is the first in Marc Chagall’s series of compositions that feature Jesus as a Jewish martyr and dramatically call attention to the persecution and suffering of Jews in 1930s Germany at the hands of the National Socialist Party. Chagall stressed Jesus’s religious identity by depicting him and the biblical figures above him in traditional Jewish garments. The surrounding images show the devastation of pogroms, violent attacks against Jewish communities often organized or sanctioned by local governments. Combining the Crucifixion with contemporary events, Chagall’s painting links the martyred Jesus with the Jewish people being persecuted across Europe and implicitly compares the Nazis with Jesus’s tormentors. (AIC)