Angelic annunciations – 3 December

Continuing our theme of angelic annunciations from yesterday, I have chosen as today’s advent offering a painting by one of my other favourite artists – Marc Chagall. This is a depiction of Abraham’s encounter with the three divine messengers (Genesis 18), who come to give him and his wife Sarah good news about the impending birth of their son Isaac. In Chagall’s painting, the messengers sit round Abraham’s table – wings fluttering, feet dangling – seemingly tucking in with relish to the sumptuous feast he has prepared for them. Abraham, meanwhile, stands by rather nervously, not sure, perhaps, what’s going on.

Like yesterday’s offering, the colours in this picture are absolutely gorgeous, the brilliant red background and the brightness of the angels’ wings and garments suggestive of an atmosphere that pops with festive spirit. I just wish Abraham would relax, take a seat at the table, and enjoy the party. 

Marc Chagall, Abraham and the Three Angels (from “Illustrations for the Bible,” 1960)


6 thoughts on “Angelic annunciations – 3 December

  1. Elaine December 3, 2013 / 2:24 pm

    And did I notice Sarah up in the right hand corner. She seems much more relaxed than Abraham.


  2. Caroline December 4, 2013 / 6:34 am

    Yes, I was wondering who that was – Sarah does seem a likely candidate [does she have wings too?] and certainly looks as though she’s less anxious than her husband.


  3. cedar51 December 4, 2013 / 2:21 pm

    I am behind with reading email, but I will keep up now as the pictures and of course the information will certainly help me better understand this special event at this time of the year.


  4. Deirdre Parr December 5, 2013 / 5:34 pm

    Sorry to be a kill-joy, but I don’t think the figure in the top right, as reproduced here, is Sarah. If you go to , you can see more of the painting, and the angelic figure in the top right is actually one of 3, with another figure who looks very like Abraham again — some Chagallian subtext going on? There is also a woman, entering from the left with a food container, whom I guessing is Sarah. Gorgeous painting, and thanks for this series Caroline — a great way to celebrate both Advent & Art! BTW, I found another Chagall representation on the same theme, and with a similar composition, at — again, there is a woman entering from the LHS.


    • Caroline Blyth December 6, 2013 / 12:58 pm

      Thanks Deirdre, that is most interesting and helpful! I was confused by the wings on the figure in the top right corner, and getting to see the full picture makes it much clearer. So, Sarah is coming in from the left, doing all the running around with the food, while Abraham stands there looking a little awestruck!


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