The life and works of Marc Chagall


Marc Chagall was a major influence in the modernism style. His works are appreciated on a global scale and he is portrayed as one of the most admired artist of the 20th century. During his lifetime he proved to be a complex artist as his works are present in various domains such as painting, stained glass, illustrations, ceramic, tapestries, stage sets and fine art prints. His desire to inspire beauty through various projects resembles Michelangelo’s approach to art. Only a complete artist can step outside his comfort zone and try to find beauty in all his endeavors.

Chagall was born on July 6 1887 near the town of Vitebsk in Belarus. His childhood was simple yet he benefited from the love of a big family ( he had 8 siblings). He attended a Jewish elementary school and then enrolled a public school. Learning the basics of drawing in school, he discovered his passion for the beautiful arts. In 1907 he started to study painting at the Imperial Society for the Protection of the Arts in Saint Petersburg. During this time he kep visiting his hometown where he eventually met his future wife Bella Rosenfeld. His most representative painting from this period is “The dead man”. In 1910, after finishing his studies he moved to Paris. This introduced him to an artistic society which gave him a push to experiment with different aspects of art. During his time he was influenced by various artistic trends featured in the many museums of Paris. In 1914 Marc Chagall made the bold move of staging his first solo show in Berlin that brought him the attention of the artistic society. This stage in his life is considered he’s most powerful period a fact that is reflected by his works from that time, the most relevant ones being “Hommage Apollinaire” , “Paris through the window’ and “ The Fiddler”.

His love for his fiance determined him to return to Vitebsk. Although he wished to marry Bella, we did not want to stay in him hometown for a long time. The World War I however closed Russia’s borders making it impossible for him to leave the country. However he enjoyed his first years of marriage and he tried to influence the local arts. However his progressive views were not well received and he eventually moved to Moscow, which was his last stop before leaving Russia for ever.

The next stop in the life of Marc Chagall was Berlin. Here he was drawn by the art of engraving. Soon enough his talent was recognized as he created 107 plates for Gogol’s Dead Souls as well as 100 gouaches for La Fontaine. He spent the next years traveling and he focused on creating his biblical plates which some consider to be his most impressive work pieces. World War II was a difficult time in his life and his works“Solitude” and “White Crucifixion” reflect his anxiety over the fate of his people. In 1941 he was rescued by an American organization and both him and his wife arrived in New York. Although his time in New york meant his involvement in yet another type of art (designing sets) it is also associated with the passing away of his wife. “The wedding candles” and “nocturne feature her as a bride. In 1948 he moved back to France and over the next years he was preoccupied with a lot of stained glass projects. Pablo Picasso once praised him with high words saying that Chagall and Matisse were the only painters that understood what color really is. In 1985 Marc Chagall passed away leaving behind a rich legacy in various art domains.