His detached look makes it seem as though he is not present in the scene and that viewers see this event through the memory of Abraham or even God himself. It comes from the biblical narration where Isaac and Abraham went to the mountains for a sacrifice. Abraham wanted to sacrifice Isaac but God provided on Mount Moriah.
This painting has a somewhat symbolic, mysterious quality, which may be attributed to his use of Sacred Geometry. The scene appears almost dreamlike because the figures do not seem real and are slightly transparent. Isaac is rendered as a hollow form behind Abraham's arm, which is the painting's most symbolic and mysterious element. Isaac's body seems to continue behind Abraham as a transparent form and does not separate the two people in the image. The technique and style used in this painting give it so much sense, just as Chagall had intended.
The Sacrifice of Isaac has been described as a tragic portrayal by art enthusiasts and analysts. Nevertheless, Chagall's past works depict the joyous aspects of Jewish identity and history. For example, "The Farewell" is another painting similar to The Sacrifice of Isaac in its use of geometric shapes and vivid colours and depicts a father-son relationship. In this piece, the boy is leaving home for a religious holiday with his father. This piece is joyous because of the upbeat colours and shapes used which stark contrast to The Sacrifice of Isaac. Chagall uses various techniques to create different moods and ambiences for each painting as it suits the purpose and story he wishes to portray.
Chagall worked on this painting for four months, and its first showing was in April at the Galerie Maeght. It is one of Chagall's most significant paintings and dominates even a room of his works even today. While he created so many paintings using Jewish themes during his career, this canvas is considered as his most profound meditation on the themes of Jewish life and identity. Before he passed on, Chagall had stated: "I want to paint paradise. It is easy to do for those who believe in paradise. For me, it is difficult because I know that hell exists, too. That's why my paradise has a lot of blue colours." The Sacrifice of Isaac appears like a heavenly and peaceful place without any difficulties or struggles.