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The Parkes Institute

Interfaith Week Lecture : Jewish-Christian Dialogue in Marc Chagall's Paintings Event

Image: Marc Chagall, « Apocalypse e
10 November 2020
Online Event

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Event details

Part of the Parkes Institute Annual Lecture Series 2020/21

Interfaith Week Lecture : Jewish-Christian Dialogue in Marc Chagall's Paintings

Jewish-Christian Dialogue in Marc Chagall's Work: the centrality of the crucifixion

Marc Chagall (1887-1985) is the painter of modernity by excellence. As with many other ‘modern artists’ of the 20th century, he was also a multicultural artist. French by choice and by his iconography and production in the 1930s, he was born in the Russian empire, and has been increasingly seen as a Russian artist. His Jewishness is also crucial for understanding his life and work. Born in Vitebsk (today Belarus), a city of the Pale of settlement, he was a ‘child of the modern Jewish revolution’. In this public lecture for interfaith week, we want to show that Chagall’s significance cannot be understood without close attention to the constant and often subtle dialogue between Jewish and Christian themes and iconography in his work. Through interdisciplinary analysis of his reinterpretation of key Christian themes (Holy family; Jesus; crucifixion) we hope that this rediscovery of Chagall’s work will demonstrate how his style was essentially a confluence of Jewish, Christian (and more) features and his paintings were multi-layered compositions that addressed a multitude of audiences through different means.

Helen Spurling is Associate Professor of History at the University of Southampton and the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations. Her research focuses on relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims in Late Antiquity in the Eastern Mediterranean, biblical exegesis and apocalypticism. She is particularly interested in the role of the Bible in interfaith dialogue.

Claire Le Foll is Associate Professor of East European Jewish History and Culture at the Parkes Institute and the University of Southampton. Her research is connected to the emergence of a Jewish national art in Eastern Europe, in Vitebsk, Minsk and Kiev, and the construction of a specific Jewish-Belarusian identity in the 19th and 20th centuries. She has analysed Marc Chagall ‘Russian years’ in L’école artistique de Vitebsk (1897-1923). Eveil et rayonnement autour de Pen, Chagall et Malevitch (Paris, L’Harmattan, 2002).

Chaired by Anoushka Alexander-Rose (Parkes Outreach Fellow)

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Speaker information

Claire Le Foll, Associate Professor ( Parkes/History)

Helen Spurling, Associate Professor ( Parkes/History)

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