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Marc Chagall, the Versatile Dreamer of the Fictitious world

July 6, On This Day


The painter, lithographer, etcher and designer Marc Chagall was born on 6 July 1887. His poetic, figurative style made him one of the most popular modern artists in the world. His compositions depict aspects of his personal and family histories and those of Eastern European folklore. He also contributed to sets for plays and ballets and the world of stained glass windows.

Born in Vitebsk to a deeply religious Jewish family, he moved to St. Petersburg in 1907 after studying Painting in the studio of a local realist, Jehuda Pen. He studied there for three years under the stage designer Leon Bakst at the Zvantseva School of Drawing and Painting, where he discovered the genre of theatre set and costume design that became a highlight of his career. Chagall worked in many radical modernist styles, including Cubism, Suprematism and Surrealism. However, he later rejected each, remaining committed to figurative and narrative art.

In 1910 he moved to Paris, where Cubism was the dominant movement. Though much of the French art establishment was still under the sway of older 19th-century ideas, Chagall was like a breath of fresh air with his ideas of art. His four-year stay is considered to be his best phase, characterised by works such as ‘Self-Portrait with Seven Fingers’ (1912), ‘Hommage an Apollinaire (1911-1912), ‘Calvary’ (1912) and ‘Paris Through the Window’ (1913). Of these works, ‘I and Village’ (1911) were among modern art’s first expressions of psychic reality.

I and Village (1911) by Marc Chagall | Credit: Wiki

The gallery of the Modernist publication Der Sturm was the venue of his first solo exhibition in 1914, after exhibiting in the annual Paris Salon des Independants and Salon d’ Automne. During the 1920s and early 30s, he painted fewer large canvases, such as ‘Bride and Groom with Eiffel Tower’ (1928) and ‘The Circus (1931), which became more obviously poetical and popular with the general public.

Calvary (Golgotha) 1912 | credit: Wiki

Chagall mastered the complex art of the stained glass window in the late 1950s and designed several windows at international locations. He produced windows for the cathedrals of Reims and Metz, the UN, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Jerusalem Windows in Israel.

The Fiddler (1912) by Marc Chagall | wiki

Marc Chagall died on 28 March 1985 and was buried in France. At the time of his death, he left behind several of his extensive collections carried out in various branches and styles of art.

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