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Russia: Marc Chagall, Painter of Symbols

Marc Chagall was born poor, lost his beloved bride to illness, and was persecuted for being Jewish, but through his paintings, he showed the world the optimism that color could bring.

Born in Belarus in 1887, Chagall lived for 97 years and created some of the most memorable creations of art, the world has seen. His work has been described as avant-garde, but elements of folklore, cubism, religious symbology, and child-like wonderment can be seen throughout his work.

He first picked up the brush in 1906, learning the craft from local artisans. In 1907, he moved to St. Petersburg where he lived until 1910. During this time, people of the Jewish faith had to have a permit to live in St. Petersburg. Chagall was jailed a few times for not having the proper paper work. This added to his frustrations and further cemented his belief in his faith and with his religious themed work, this is evident.

He later moved to Paris where he would reside off and on for the remainder of his life. It was during this initial stay that he developed his modernistic style. Borrowing heavily from the cubists he created work that has endured. His painting, I and the Village, shows this tendency and his love of color.

Marc Chagall's work can be viewed in most of the world's best known museums. His work has been sought by the biggest collectors in the world and most of his paintings achieve bids in the millions. For those who love New York and works of art on a grand scale, you can view two great works by this artist. In the lobby of the Metropolitan Opera House is an amazing mosaic of his and at the U.N. is a wall of stain glass that was created by Marc Chagall.

For those who want to experience the art of Marc Chagall there are two museums devoted to this artist. First in Nice, France is the Marc Chagall Museum; this museum is dedicated to his biblical works. In Vitebsk, Russia is the Marc Chagall House, the home of his childhood and the Marc Chagall Art Center, which focuses on his graphic art works.

So plan your trip early and experience the art of a man who knew pain, but loved the optimism that color brought to one’s life.


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