Monday – Friday: 9am – 6pm
Saturday: 10am – 6pm
oil on canvas
27 x 21,8 cm (10 5/8 x 8 5/8 in.)
with signature stamp lower left
At the beginning of the 1930s, Ambroise Vollard commissioned Chagall to create a series of Bible illustrations focusing on themes from the Old Testament. In the spring of 1931, Chagall travelled to Egypt, Palestine and present-day Israel, driven by an inner need to experience the land from which the Bible had emerged. Unusually for the artist, he spent a lot of time working outdoors and absorbing the atmosphere of the landscape. The depictions of King David in particular held a lasting fascination for Chagall and he took up the subject over and over again in different variations. Chagall often depicts David with a harp, as in the present work - King David is, after all, a symbol of creativity in the Jewish and Christian religions of the Old Testament. Chagall's fascination with spiritual and religious imagery had its roots, like much of his art, in his childhood in Vitebsk, which was shaped by the dramas and rituals of the Jewish religious calendar, its stories and legends, prayers and ceremonies.