Marc Chagall’s Jewish Lazarus

By Menachem Wecker at the Houston Chronicle Blog.
Marc Chagall (1887-1985) included two peculiar elements in his painting of the risen Lazarus.
The man from Mary and Martha’s hometown of Bethany, whom Jesus resurrected from the dead, is appropriately dressed in the shrouds one would expect of a corpse. Lazarus’ head backlit by a halo, suggesting sainthood, is an unusual move, but by no means a unique one.
Fra Angelico’s Raising of Lazarus (early 1450s) features no fewer than a dozen haloed figures, including Lazarus. Giovanni da Milano’s 1365 Raising of Lazarus also features a haloed Lazarus, as does a 1332 illumination by Michiel van der Borch. Surely this owes to traditions Lazarus was a saint.
But Chagall’s Saint Lazarus emerges from a decidedly Jewish tomb.
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