The Trouble With Jewish Art

DURING THE NAZI period, Marc Chagall, who had left his native Russia for France and then America, dramatized the martyrdom of the Jews of Europe by appropriating the most potent Christian iconography, the Crucifixion. One of these pictures, White Crucifixion, from 1938, which now hangs at the Art Institute in Chicago, is reproduced in this illustrated survey called Jewish Art: A Modern History: It shows Jesus on the cross, naked except for a tallit drawn around his waist, surrounded by images of burning synagogues and houses, and floating, weeping Jews.

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