Marc Chagall: discover the painter of dreams

Being in front of one of Marc Chagall’s canvases is like floating in a dream world. He is the artist who captures with impossible colors what could be the deepest subconscious. To understand Chagall’s work, it is necessary to delve into the details of his life.

His works are highly inspired by his personal experiences, interspersed with the Jewish religious traditions of Russia. In Marc Chagall different styles come together to form a unique and unclassifiable brushstroke. Would you like to get to know this extraordinary genius more closely?

Short biography of Marc Chagall

The painter was born in Vitebsk, a small village in present-day Belarus, on July 7, 1887. He was the eldest of nine children, raised in a Jewish family. His artistic restlessness soon became noticeable and he moved to St. Petersburg in 1907.where he studied under the tutelage of artists such as Nikolai Roerich or León Bakst.

In the summer of 1910 he moved to Paris. Over there will join the artists who are forming in the Montparnasse neighborhood. He meets important art dealers, which will later allow him to organize his first solo exhibitions. The first one will be in Berlin, in 1914.

That same year he returns to Vitebsk to marry Bella Rosenfeld., Russian writer with whom he was engaged. She will be his beloved, his muse, and his model for many of his works. They will marry in 1915 and soon have a daughter. This will be the happiest stage in Marc Chagall’s life, something that will be reflected in his painting.

He actively participates in the Russian Revolution of 1917 and founds the Vitebsk Art School in 1919. But his constant disputes with Kazimir Malevich make him leave the school. In 1923 Chagall and his family settled permanently in France.fleeing between 1941 and 1948 to the United States after the German occupation.

This time will bring you great achievements, such as the retrospective organized by MoMA about him in 1946, establishing himself as an international artist. Although it will also bring him the most bitter moment when his beloved Bella died in 1944. He will marry again on two more occasions and dies on March 28, 1985 in Saint-Paul de Vence, near Nice, where he is buried. .

Style in influences in the work of Marc Chagall

Childhood, popular customs and religion are three essential fields in Marc Chagall’s painting. His native Vitebsk and his first experiences will always be very present. to these influences will join the connection with different Parisian avant-gardes before the First World War.

Mainly, there are two clear currents that we can identify in Chagall’s work: Matisse’s Fauvism and Picasso’s Cubism. Likewise, the intense connection with the School of Paris is observed, where different styles are navigated between expressionism and surrealism, with exponents such as Amadeo Modigliani.

All these sources are from which the artist will drink to create a palette of intense color, get away from the problems of the world and place himself and his loved ones in a world full of happiness.

Through love, childhood, folklore and personal experiences, Chagall gives us a work full of optimism. It uses a mix between reality and fantasy, between the logical and the irrational, to convey to us the joy of living. Do you want to discover his main creations and where to find them?

me and the village1911), at the MoMA in New York

It is one of the first pictures in which we check the style of Chagall in all its splendor. We contemplate a perfect synthesis between the avant-garde and references to his childhood world, the countryside and traditions.

The chromatic fan is vibrant, a clear legacy of Fauvism, while the geometric shapes denote the cubist influence. All this is submerged in superimposed images without a precise order and that do not behave according to the laws of gravity. However, the studied lines of the figures balance the oneiric explosion, connecting the entire composition.

paris through the window (1913), Chagall at the Guggenheim in New York

Love for the French capital will be captured by Chagall in many of his works, like this example. The high content of cubism and the strong color to express themselves are the protagonists of this canvas, in which we look out the artist’s window.

There are different differentiated planes and the images are much more fanciful: a cat with human features, the painter himself portrayed in the foreground with a double face, characters floating, the train running backwards, etc. The duality between the effervescence that he lives in Paris and the nostalgia he feels for the simple life of his native Russia is more than evident.

The birthday (1915), one of Chagall’s major works at MoMA in New York

We have here one of the most beautiful canvases of the Russian painter, made a few weeks after his marriage to Bella. It is without a doubt a celebration of love.

I opened the window and together with Bella they entered my sky blue room, love and flowers. Dressed all in white or black, she has appeared in my paintings for a long time, as a guide to my art.

-Marc Chagall-

The author gradually forgets the cubism of his Parisian days and the almost surreal dream field is gaining groundwith strong expressionist colors.

Being surrounded by war or the economic hardships that are revealed by the lack of furniture in the scene represented do not seem to matter to him. The atmosphere of happiness that surrounds the lovers as they float around the room is the key of this creation.

the celestial violinist (1934), in the Municipal Museum of Tosa de Mar

Chagall spent two summers in a row on the Costa Bravaspecifically in the town of Tossa de Mar, with which he was totally captivated and which inspired him to make canvases like this one.

Again, we admire an evocation of his hometown, this time inspired by the blues of the sea. The violinist may be a representation of his uncle, with whom he had a close relationship.

The Virgin of the village (1938-42), in the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum in Madrid

This is another of the paintings that we can meet in Spain. During this stage, Chagall paints scenes from the Christian tradition coinciding with the years of the Jewish holocaust.

The Virgin appears with the Child in her arms, both surrounded by Chagall’s own iconography: musical angels, flying cows that play the violin, all floating over a village. It is another magnificent example that evokes the fantasy world of this genius.

There are many places and museums to admire Marc Chagall’s masterful brushwork: the ceiling of the Opera Garnier, the Pompidou Center in Paris, the mosaic of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the stained glass windows of the cathedrals of Metz or Reims, the Marc Chagall museum in Nice or the Tate Modern in London. His footprint can be traced around the world.

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