Detail in The Reclining Poet.(Tate Modern Museum. Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.)

Considering a new show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on “Marc Chagall and His Circle,” contributing editor Jonathan Wilson argues today in Tablet Magazine that the tastefully named Belarus-born artist distinguished himself from the rest of his circle with his explicit Jewish themes—and that his inventive use of these are among his greatest strokes. “He brilliantly harnessed his Yiddish past to modernist techniques and in this way sneaked Yiddish culture into 20th-century painting,” Wilson argues. “Because the vibrant visual expression of his paintings carried the stamp of the modern and not the stigma of a dying language, hardly anyone, with the exception of the odd French anti-Semite, noticed.”

Hasidic Cubism