Marc Chagall, Esther, 1960. Lithograph,  Musée national Message Biblique Marc Chagall, Nice.

This is a lithograph of Queen Esther as imagined by Marc Chagall (1887–1985), a Belarus-born French artist. Esther's story, found in the biblical book bearing her name, is the basis of the Jewish holiday of Purim. Purim commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved, through Esther’s actions, from extermination.

Chagall has rejected realism in this image and instead created Queen Esther in a more humble and spiritual manner. Rather than the usual depiction of a lofty queen, Chagall’s Esther has a simplicity and direct gaze that make her more accessible to the viewer.


A Jewish holiday celebrating the saving of the Jews of Persia from annihilation, as recounted in the biblical book of Esther.

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