The Flight into Egypt

 
Artist
Creation date
Materials
oil on canvas
Mark Descriptions
Signed l.r.: Marc Chagall
Dimensions
14-1/2 x 15-3/8 in. 22 x 22-1/2 in. (framed)
Credit line
Bequest of Mrs. James W. Fesler
Accession number
61.37
Collection
Currently On View In
William L. and Jane H. Fortune Gallery - H200

Typical of Chagall's colorful fantasies, this work offers a rich mixture of personal symbolism. Its setting derives from happy childhood memories of Chagall's Russian village, yet the black windows and gaping doors suggests his anguish at the suffering of World War II.

While the figures may well be the Holy Family fleeing to Egypt, they could also symbolize the artist's own flight from war-torn France. The man's apparel relates to Chagall's reverence for the tragic humanity of clowns. The candle and raven are symbols of light and dark, concepts that often appear in Chagall's work.

(Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York) by 1944; purchased by Caroline Marmon Fesler [1878-1960], Indianapolis, in 1944;{1} bequest to the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 1961 (61.37).

{1}The bill of sale from Pierre Matisse Gallery is dated 11 December 1944, see IMA Historical File (61.37). Because Chagall arrived in the United States in June 1941, the painting was certainly not painted in Europe.
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