ChagallCalvary (2)ExodusThe Jewish Museum in New York is presenting Chagall: Love, War, and Exile  through February 2, 2014. The exhibition focuses on the art of Marc Chagall (1887-1985) from the 1930s-40s, when he was living in France and the United States. Of the 53 paintings in the show 20 include representations of the Crucifixion.

From the museum’s press release on Chagall’s use of Jesus and the Crucifixion: “Most unexpected is the recurring appearance of the figure of the crucified Jesus as a metaphor for war, Jewish suffering and persecution…Jesus on the cross was a symbol for victims of persecution, and an appeal to conscience that equated the martyrdom of Jesus with the suffering of the Jewish people.”

Even beyond using the crucifixion as a theme in his work, Chagall, as a person and artist, identified himself with Jesus Christ on the cross. In one of his crucifixion paintings he replaced INRI with “Marc Ch”. He also seemed to identify with the risen Christ.

Am I finished?

Is my picture done?

Everything shines, flows, runs.

Only that land is mine

That lies in my soul. —Chagall

Top Painting: Calvary, 1912

Bottom Painting: Exodus, 1952-66