© ADAGP, Paris 2011 © cliché RMN Gérard Blot
Oil on canvas
168 x 103 cm
Musée national d’art moderne - Centre de Création Industrielle, Centre Georges Pompidou, entrusted to the Musée national Marc Chagall
The three paintings entitled Resistance, Resurrection and Liberation originally formed one large composition called Revolution, completed by Chagall in 1937 for the 20th anniversary of the October Revolution in Russia.
In 1943, when the artist was exiled to the United States, he split up and reworked this ensemble to make three separate paintings. At the time Chagall was doing this, he was deeply affected by the war and the fate of Jews who stayed in Europe, and his anguish comes through in his work: the colours, themes and compositions of these paintings take on a tragic undertone.
The blood red background of the first two canvases, Resistance and Resurrection, which had been on the right of the original ensemble and evoked the battles of the revolution, now illustrated the violence of the war. Here, burning houses, a clock (symbolising the home) thrown out into the street and a woman fleeing with her child surround the crucified Christ – the embodiment of man’s sufferings.
Chagall has also portrayed himself as the painter on each of these canvases, bearing witness to the Jews’ suffering. In Resistance, he is lying on the ground, at the bottom of the painting, as if struck down by his apocalyptic vision.
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