Courtesy Jacabook

Brilliant colors and dreamlike images distinguish Marc Chagall’s interpretation of the Song of Songs. Merging landscapes of Jerusalem and of the Russian village of his birth, Chagall creates a backdrop for the interplay of biblical and personal images. The lyre-playing figure of David, brushed by a bird in flight, dominates the composition, while pairs of lovers echo the poetry of Song of Songs.

In the center of the painting, the extraordinary colors of the disembodied faces (compare with detail) draws the viewer’s attention to the center of the painting. The jarring effect of the man’s green face is softened by the gentleness of his hand and the tenderness of his profile as he turns toward the full face of his beloved.

Today, this painting is in the collection of the Marc Chagall National Museum of the Biblical Message in Nice, France. It is displayed with 16 other paintings illustrating the major themes of the Song of Songs, Genesis and Exodus.