July 6, 2017
Marc Chagall (1887-1985), Moses and Aaron Before Pharaoh, 1956, etching, 21 3/16 x 15 1/2 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of R. Reed and Dorothy Fife Family, 2007.
Modernist artist Marc Chagall was born on this day in 1887. Today’s Artwork of the Day is an etching by Chagall based upon the Old Testament story of the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt. The brothers, Moses and Aaron, appear before Pharaoh, asking him to allow the Hebrew people to leave Egypt, where the Hebrews had been enslaved for 400 years.
Born in Russia to a deeply religious Jewish family, Chagall relied on his Jewish heritage for much of his imagery. A member of the avant-garde circle in Paris before World War I, Chagall created fragmented, dreamlike paintings that relied heavily upon his childhood memories. Six years after the Russian revolution in 1917, Chagall again returned to Paris at the invitation of dealer Ambroise Vollard, for whom he created book illustrations and several series of prints. These included illustrations he did for the Bible in 1930-1931, which may have included Moses and Aaron.