Marc Chagall (1887 - 1985)
The Creation of Man (detail), 1956-1958 - Oil on canvas. H. 299 ; l. 200 cm - Nice, musée national Marc Chagall
The painting is organized in two registers like the classical altarpieces, which is what it must have been in the original project for the chapel of the Calvary of Vence.
Above, in the sky invaded by yellow light, a swirling sun, whose colors evoke the orphism of Delaunay, whom Chagall knew in Paris during his years of apprenticeship, drags the Jewish people and episodes from biblical history in its wheel. Christ on the Cross is one of them: his loins are girdled with the shawl worn by the Jews in the synagogue, he is for Chagall the sacrificed Jew who appears in his painting with the beginning of the Second World War.
In the lower register, an angel carrying Adam abandoned in his arms emerges from the primordial ocean where Chagall depicted animals, created before man. The angel's features, such as the way he wears his pants, underline the artist's identification with him, asserting himself as creator and bearer of the divine message.