Marc Chagall

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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Marc Chagall (Russian, 1887-1985) is one of the most beloved artists of all time. With a dreamy sensibility and subjects so full of emotion that they defy gravity, his work can oftentimes have a childlike quality. Though he was pursued by leaders in other movements like cubism and surrealism, Chagall always maintained a polite distance, preferring his own vision. Nonetheless, Chagall is still considered a forerunner of surrealism, and continues to have great influence on contemporary artists.

Marc Chagall: Painter Poet

Chagall was born in Russia and lived within a rich Hassidic culture. He was deeply spiritual, and many of his artworks feature religious symbolism. Chagall's twelve stained-glass windows, symbolizing the tribes of Israel, were exhibited in Paris and New York City before being installed permanently in Jerusalem. During and after World War II, he included Christ representations in his pieces to represent human suffering.

Marc Chagall adored color and symbols taken from literature and Russian folklore. Much of his work has an inventive fairy-tale naivety. His paintings are both formal and metaphorical.

A painter-poet, Marc Chagall explored multiple mediums, like stained glass, ceramics and set design. For several years, he designed sets and costumes for Stravinsky ballets in New York. But his enduring legacy is set down in his dreamlike paintings, where women hold full bouquets of flowers as they float above the floor, and where horses and children appear to be sharing secrets.


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