SIXTY YEARS AGO, Chagall proposed this model for the creation of a huge stained glass window which was to be placed near the entrance to the meditation room, within the United Nations building in New York (United States). United). A work offered on the occasion of the third anniversary of the death of Dag Hammarskjöld, second secretary general of the UN killed in 1961 during a mission in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and who admired the artist’s work .
“With all my soul,” declared Chagall during the inauguration, “I wanted to express the extent of my inspiration and that of Dag Hammarskjöld, and of all those who died for peace, because this is the very reason for which the UN was founded. » It must be said that for the artist of Jewish tradition, who himself lived through his century as an exile and survived two world conflicts, peace is not an idea, but an essential quest. On its preparatory cardboard, everything is placed on a huge blue background, a color inviting meditation for the artist.
The painter’s universe – symbolic and poetic characters and creatures, biblical and political allusions – unfolds. In the center, a couple stands under the tree of paradise whose serpent, at the bottom, seems to be excluded by the tables of the Law carried by an angelic Moses. Around it, animals and humans are born, struggle, take care, pray, lament. A yellow crucified seems to bring together the crowd of the wounded, the innocent victims, the peacemakers. At the opposite corner, a Virgin and Child recalls this great mystery of a life that returns. The powerful are overthrown from their thrones. And the humble raised in the light.