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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

CLOSE LOOKING / VISUAL ANALYSIS:

Encourage students to examine this work of art carefully:

  • What is happening in this work? Does anything surprise you about the composition? What questions does the picture raise for you?

  • What do you notice about the way the artist uses color?

  • What is the focus of the scene? How does the artist direct your attention to the focal point?
    [Moses is in the center of the lithograph and several of the other figures look or gesture toward him. He also appears larger than the other figures, and his bright white color attracts attention.]

  • How would you describe the lines used by the artist?
    [Chagall’s lines are sketchy and quivering.]




FOR FURTHER DISCUSSION:

After giving students an opportunity to examine this painting, lead them in a discussion of related topics and themes:

  • Compare Chagall’s depiction of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments with the story as told in the Book of Exodus. How has Chagall altered or interpreted the story?

  • How would you illustrate the story? What characters or elements of the story would you focus on? Why?




RESEARCH TOPICS / CONTENT CONNECTIONS:

  • Bible Studies
  • Lithography
  • Jewish History
  • Religion