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Moses Receives the Ten Commandments

Marc Chagall (French, b. Belorussia, 1887-1985)

Moses Receives the Ten Commandments, from The Story of the Exodus suite, 1966

  • Lithograph on paper
  • 18 3/8 x 13 1/2 in. (46.6 x 34.3 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Gift of Herman and Sietske Turndorf, 1982-231.14
  • © 2008 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Not on view

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Moses Receives the Ten Commandments

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Moses Receives the Ten Commandments

This lithograph shows Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments hovering over a crowd of Israelites below. Moses is huge relative to the other figures. Several angels and animals float on the right side of the composition. The sky, with Moses and these other figures within it, takes up two thirds of the composition, making this portion of the work most prominent.

The composition is bounded by an uneven, irregular rectangular border.

The black background implies that it is nighttime, but not much more can be discerned about the setting. Two figures go right up to the edge along the right side of the composition.

Almost all the figures have curvilinear, arcing arms (as opposed to L-shapes to express bends at elbow). These same arced lines are echoed by Moses’ legs, the menorah, and the horns. This repetition of forms and lines leads the viewer’s eyes cycling around the artwork, even though they are ultimately drawn back to Moses, the focal point of the picture.