Is papal art appreciation all that it seems?
Pope Francis once cited Chagall’s “White Crucifixion” as one of his two favorite paintings. Perhaps he really meant it. Or maybe his stated preference was a cost-free instance of diplospeak. A polite ceremonial gesture to cover an entrenched imbalance in his Middle East sympathies? Either way, as an expression of sympathy for the Jewish people, papal art appreciation is easy but insubstantial.
It is no substitute for unambiguous support for Israel, a tiny Jewish state targeted for extinction from the date of its founding. Continue Reading
Born Moiche Zakharovitch Chagalov, Chagall never resolved his conflict between affinity for Yiddish culture and ambition to mark his place in the timeline of modern Western art. The tension took a toll on his instinct for painting. But let us not begin there.
Better to start with Brad Miner’s essay “Marc Chagall’s Jesus,” for The Catholic Thing. It distills the reasons why Chagall’s work continues to resonate. And it provides context for “White Crucifixion” (1938), the best known of Chagall’s many interpretations of the crucifixion theme:
Chagall was living [for a second time] in Paris at this point, and news of the Kristallnacht pogrom and other attacks on Jews were the impetus for the creation of “White Crucifixion.” Continue Reading