Marc Chagall | Bible Stories

20 January - 20 February 2022

‘Ever since my earliest youth,’ Chagall wrote, ‘I have been fascinated with the Bible. I have always believed that it is the greatest source of poetry of all time. I have sought its reflection in life and art. The Bible is life, an echo of nature, and this is the secret I have endeavoured to transmit.’ 


As mystical as these words may sound to us now, and indeed, to his modernist contemporaries, when we look at the 40 Bible lithographs, resplendent and humane, full of awe and pathos, it is hard not to feel that Chagall succeeded in his endeavour. His deep preoccupation with the spiritual life is borne out by a great many paintings, prints and stained-glass windows. Yet, if all of these were lost, his Bible lithographs alone would confirm him as the greatest religious artist since William Blake.

Bible stories sustained Chagall over three tumultuous decades marked by World War, his exile from France and the death of his wife. The origin of these Bible lithographs reaches back to a 1931 commission from influential dealer Ambroise Vollard for a series of etchings depicting scenes from the Bible.