Marc Chagall, born July 7 1887, was Russian-Belorussian-French painter whose dedication and talent was widely recognized. He was born in Liozno, Belarus and was the eldest of nine children. His childhood had big impact on his later work.
His father worked in a salt herring factory and his mother was a housekeeper. Very important person in his life was his grandfather, who passed his love for religion on young Marc. Chagall was of Jewish origin, which made it difficult to live to his expectations and talent.
He studied painting in St. Petersburg, and later moved to Paris, France. In France Chagall met and developed friendships with avant-garde artists such as Guillaume Apollinaire and Robert Delaunay. Chagall always talked about the importance of Paris for his artistic development.
Chagall was exposed to Cubism, and that exposure resulted in adding geometric shapes to his paintings, as well as understanding of Cubist multiple points of view. This can be seen in his paintings “Me and My Village” that was painted in 1911, and “Self Portrait with Seven Fingers”. The latter one was painted in 1912-1913.
Chagall became an active participant in the Russian Revolution of 1917. He was very well respected and made Commissar, but he didn’t agree politically with Soviet Union. For that reason he moved to Moscow with his wife in 1920, but came back to Paris in 1923. He moved to United States of America in 1941.
Bella, Chagall’s beloved wife and constant inspiration, died in 1944. Following his wife’s death, Chagall suffered from depression and later moved back to France. He remarried in 1952 to Valentina Brodskii (whom he called Vava).
Chagall was an independent artist and was often criticized for his lack of realism. It’s very important to emphasize Chagall’s inspiration: life, joy, his childhood, Belarussian folk-life.
His work is very hard to categorize, but main styles that built his art were cubism, avant-garde and fauvism.
Chagall used some symbols more often than others in his paintings. Here are some of them:
– bosom ( symbolized eroticism and fertility )
– rooster ( symbolized fertility and was often painted with lovers )
– tree ( Chagall’s symbol of life )
– cow ( symbolized life’s richness: milk, power, leather… )
– herring ( Chagall’s father, who was working in a salt factory )
– horses ( symbolized grace and freedom )
– the Eiffel Tower ( yet another symbol of freedom, magnificent heights )
Marc Chagall died on March 28, 1985, at the age of 97. But his art, talent and zest for life still lives in his paintings.
Marc Chagall was also a poet, an artist who created his poetry with colors and shapes. He was and he remained an optimist, who celebrated life and its wonders. Life, love and joy were his themes and motives, his inspirations and muses.