2007-07-07

Marc Chagall

When I assess my art, I take the painting and put it next to a God-made object like a tree or flower. If it clashes, it is not art.

- Marc Chagall

On this date in 1887 the world became a richer, more vibrant place. Here is how The Columbia Encylopedia (courtesy of Answers.com) summarizes the visionary career of Marc Chagall, born in Belarus on July 7:

In 1907, Chagall left his native Vitebsk for St. Petersburg, where he studied under L. N. Bakst. In Paris (1910) he began to assimilate cubist characteristics into his expressionistic style. He is considered a forerunner of surrealism. After some years in Russia, Chagall returned to France in 1922, where he spent most of his life. His frequently repeated subject matter was drawn from Jewish life and folklore; he was particularly fond of flower and animal symbols. His major early works included murals for the Jewish State Theater (now in the Tretyakov Museum, Moscow). Among his other well-known works are I and the Village (1911; Museum of Modern Art, New York City) and The Rabbi of Vitebsk (Art Institute of Chicago). He designed the sets and costumes for Stravinsky's ballet Firebird (1945). Chagall's twelve stained-glass windows, symbolizing the tribes of Israel, were exhibited in Paris and New York City before being installed (1962) in the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center synagogue in Jerusalem. His two vast murals for New York's Metropolitan Opera House, treating symbolically the sources and the triumph of music, were installed in 1966. Much of Chagall's work is rendered with an extraordinary formal inventiveness and a deceptive fairy-tale naïveté. Chagall illustrated numerous books, including Gogol's Dead Souls, La Fontaine's Fables, and Illustrations for the Bible (1956). A museum of his work opened in Nice in 1973.


We may lave the last word with the artist himself:
It is our duty to colour our own lives with shades of love and hope . . .
In art, as in life, all is possible when conceived in love.

- Marc Chagall

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