The majority of his lithographs would be predominantly blanked white for the background, with elements then filling the central area but here he fills the entire artwork with colour. This gives a more powerful and emotional finish, providing a greater contrast between the different parts of the work. There is a dark sky with bright orange horizon and this sets a dramatic mood immediately. There are then tones of yellow and orange with which to depict the figures in the near foreground, and that allows our focus to find them first. There is then a deep blue which feeds the waves that cover the central part of the design, with wave spray on the edge produced in white circles, akin to clouds. The Bible would feature regularly within Chagall's career and was a great source of inspiration for his work.
The content refers to the story of Moses. He himself is pictured on the left hand side, raising his arm as if you allow the Israelites to cross the seas. The angel rises above in recognition of this movement, as the waves help to keep them apart from the Egyptians. The artist uses colour to differentiate the key parts of this scene, and many will be well aware already of this story and therefore able to pick out the different parts fairly easily. Chagall went on to produce a large number of depictions of other scenes from the Bible for individual paintings and also book illustrations.
Marc Chagall produced such a huge array of work during his long lifetime that it has proven a tough task to actually document it all together, whilst also featuring good detail on each and every item. As such, there is not a huge amount of information available specifically on The Crossing of the Red Sea, as you see it here, but we have discovered a large number of alternative lithograph versions that were printed in limited editions and sold privately. The artist was able to produce extra income from working in this way, and other artists have done similar from etchings and woodcuts, dating back many centuries. It has also allowed them to sell to a wider part of the community, spreading their reputation much further.