Why Chagall painted Jesus and the cross

March 4, 2010

Drawings for Marc Chagall's stained-glass windows at All Saints' Church, Tudeley, in Kent, will be shown in the UK for the first time this week as part of the Mascalls Gallery exhibition, Cross Purposes.

The exhibition examines the representation of the crucifixion in 20th-century art and will be at the Ben Uri Gallery in London from June 19 to September 15.

Chagall was commissioned to design the windows - All Saints is the only church in the world to have all its windows decorated by him - by the late Sir Henry d'Avigdor-Goldsmid.

Sir Henry's daughter, Sarah, died in a drowning accident in Rye, aged just 21, in 1963. Although Sir Henry was Jewish, both his wife and daughter worshipped at All Saints Church.

Sarah had seen and loved Chagall's work in Paris, and so Sir Henry asked the artist to make the windows in her memory.

The east window shows a young girl drowning, next to the figure of a crucified Jesus (above).

Last updated: 4:57pm, March 4 2010