The Biblical Message
Chagall began work on the Biblical Message in the early 1950s, starting out by bringing the Chapel du Rosaire to life in Vence where he lived from 1949 to 1966. As his work progressed, he preferred to separate the series from any particular religion and ended up deciding to give it to the French State in 1966.
The cycle includes 12 paintings illustrating Genesis and Exodus, the first two books of the Bible, and a series of five paintings of the Song of Songs.
For the first 12, Chagall chose to illustrate the episodes highlighting man’s relations with God – in faithful detail based on the Biblical text.
The artist himself decided on the order in which the paintings are exhibited on the museum’s walls, in keeping with formal and religious correspondences rather than the historical chronology of the episodes.