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Chagall’s interpretations of Bible stories are on display

David and Bathsheba, by Marc Chagall, 1956

Modern artist Marc Chagall’s dream-like style, illustrating stories from the Bible, is the subject of an exhibition at the Duke Chapel at Duke University in Durham, N.C., presented in partnership with Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts.

Curated by art collector Sandra Bowden, the exhibition, “Marc Chagall and the Bible,” features etchings and lithographs with biblical themes, on display until March 30. No tickets or reservations are required, but check the website to see if a private function is occupying the space.

Chagall (1887–1985) is perhaps the foremost visual interpreter of the Bible in the twentieth century. His vision of the Bible combines his Jewish heritage and modern art, giving a rich display of symbol and imagination, according to the notes for the exhibition.

Chagall said he did not see the Bible, but he dreamed it, even as a child, and so his art is filled with his own reoccurring symbols of visual memory and imagination. With wit and joy, Chagall’s works invite the viewer to a fresh encounter with widely known stories from the Hebrew Bible.

This exhibition of Chagall and the Bible includes 35 lithographs and etchings of Chagall’s graphic works as well as one signed original poster. Twenty-eight brilliantly colored images from his 1956 and 1960 suites of Bible lithographs are luminous interpretations of some of his favorite stories from the Hebrew Bible.

Cain and Abel, by Marc Chagall, 1960

Each is a delightful and colorful interpretation that lets the viewer enter the worlds of the Bible and the artist. Another ten etchings from a Bible series he worked on for 25 years brings together the artist’s spirituality and childhood fantasy through the sophisticated artistry of a master printmaker.

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