Oil on canvas
216.5 x 146 cm
Musée national d’art moderne - Centre de Création Industrielle, Centre Georges Pompidou, entrusted to the Musée national Marc Chagall
After an initial depiction in gouache paintings of the Bible in 1931, which seems to establish the setting, this subject is handled on numerous other occasions by Chagall.
This is the theme of the large ceramic made up of 90 tiles with which he decorated the baptistry of Assy Church and in which he sticks very closely to the original gouache model.
The same applies here: the Hebrew people in a close-knit file, guided by an angel, head out along the passageway cleared by an imperious gesture from Moses, who can be seen standing on the left. The cloud evoking the divine presence accompanying the Hebrews and the wave closing in on Pharaoh and his army are merged in a swathe of white in the centre of the painting. The violence of the pursuers is depicted by the colour red, and the agitation of the figures by the disorder of their limbs in all directions.
The most complete version of this scene features in Moses and the burning bush, one of the scenes in the Biblical Message.