Mark (Movsha) Chagall was born in Vitebsk into a Jewish family, received a traditional home education. The main element of his paintings has always been Jewish folk culture. Often the artist visualized proverbs in Yiddish, turned to biblical subjects. The calling of the creator for him was inextricably linked with national self-awareness.
In the thirties of the last century, the French publisher Vollard invited Chagall to make illustrations for the Bible. Before starting to draw, Mark goes to the land of his ancestors. It was there that he draws inspiration from 77 works illustrating the texts of the Old Testament. Bright and lyrical, original and soulful, these pictures, in fact, are the quintessence of human feelings and a description of the nature of relationships.
David and Bathsheba are the most famous work of the biblical cycle. For Chagall, the plot of the Torah is an exciting love story of a man and a woman. King David once accidentally saw in the bathhouse naked Bathsheba - a girl of amazing beauty. Bathsheba was married, but her husband, Uriah, the commander of David, at that moment was at war. David sent Urius to certain death, in the most terrible battle, and after his death he married the one he desired. Later, the king repented of his deed, but he and Bathsheba their son Solomon crowned the kingdom after himself, although Solomon was far from the first offspring.
David is one of Chagall's favorite characters; fifteen paintings are dedicated to him. On the canvas, David and Bathsheba, the viewer sees two faces, male and female, merged together - as a symbol of the merger of male and female principles. Later, this motive appears already in the New Testament - in the Epistle to the Ephesians, the famous phrase about marriage: and there will be two one flesh. However, on the canvas Bathsheba turned her back on the king - apparently, she was sad about her murdered husband. A hand at the bottom of the canvas holds a harp. Obviously, this is a direct indication that David played the harp and even, according to legend, is the author of several psalms.
Triptych Alexander Nevsky