The Fiddler, 1912 by Marc Chagall. Oil on canvas, 188 x 158 cm, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. This painting, done in Paris, depicts a fiddler against the background of a town resembling Chagall’s childhood shtetl, Vitebsk. It recalls aspects of Chagall’s life in Russia, integrating both Christian and Jewish elements and practices. The fiddler hints at Chagall’s upbringing among the Hasidim who used music and dance to bring a community together and inspire religious devotion. Fiddler on the Roof, the musical and cinematic adaptations of Sholem Aleichem’s Tevye the Dairyman, borrowed their names from the painting.
Poster for Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway, 2004. Based on Sholem Aleichem’s stories about Tevye the Dairyman, Fiddler on the Roof is the story of a traditional Jewish family that struggles to maintain its values in the face a rapidly changing world. Both the musical and the film were widely successful.