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Marc Chagall ;the magic artist

Updated on April 7, 2010

Marc Chagall The french painter

Picasso once said of Marc Chagall '' One does not know whether he happens to be asleep or awake. He must have an angel somewhere in his head''.

I love Marc Chagall's work ; he painted a fantasy world where he gazes at the stars and loves with all his heart ; green cows, red angels daydreaming painters, soaring acrobats or flying couples. A world where people and animals lived in harmony.

I have seen some of Marc Chagall's paintings and that is why I am so enamoured ; because it moved me beyond words ; the colours where so intense they sung to me . Photo's in a book can do this man's work no justice, the colours and subjects in reality are stunning.

Marc Chagall is considered one of the greatest artists of the 20Th century, originating from Russia; the painter, and stained-glass artist drew on the folk art, fairy tales and Jewish life of his Russian homeland to create magical and enchanted paintings vibrant with glowing colours.

Fiancees of the Eiffel Tower

Fiancees of the Eiffel Tower by Marc Chagall
Fiancees of the Eiffel Tower by Marc Chagall

From Russia to Paris with Love

Marc Chagall (1887-1985) was born to a Russian Jewish family and had the privilege of being a student to the famous Russian painter Leon Bakst (1866-1924), at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg, Russia.  Chagall was expelled from the Academy for creating his version of a Pieta that was too realistic.He was a true rebel in artistic terms.

In 1910, Chagall moved to Paris where he lived for four years, he lived in dire poverty in a little studio close by the abattoirs in Paris. Here he painted some of his most famous works. These are the years that Chagall spent honing his signature style of dream-like and magical paintings based on Jewish and Russian folklore, with tales from the Bible included in his artistic interpretations.

Chagall arrived in Paris at a  pivotal time in art history. Cubism began and flourished from 1908 to 1911, an art movement or style begun by Picasso and Braque. Cubism was an art movement that believed in the representation of various points of view simultaneously. The French artist Paul Cezanne is also considered by many art historians to be the grandfather of Cubism, and acknowledgement must be made to the influence of African masks that began to be imported in the early 1900s.

Fauvism slightly pre-dates Cubism as it was an active school of art or art movement from 1905 to 1907, which was also born in Paris.   Fauvists, of the art world believed in bright colors, lots of movement in the composition and the use of expressive and wild brush strokes.

 Marc Chagall was in Paris during an incredibly rich time and his friends included Amadeo Modigliani, Robert Delaunay and Roger De La Fresnaye. Chagall was influenced by poets, by Fauvism and by Cubism as well as the imagery and symbolism that is throughout the Old Testament. All of this  mixes in the psychic and unconventional palette of Chagall to create the artists unique style of magic and romantic surrealism. Chagall's use of rich and vibrant colors is similar to the Fauves, but the narrative or story-telling aspect of the artist's work is without a doubt uniquely his own.

Gli amanti azzuri by Marc Chagall

The strong vibrant blues that Chagall is so enchanted with .
The strong vibrant blues that Chagall is so enchanted with .

The magic Surrealist

It is hard to pigeon hole Chagall stylistically,  Chagall is sometimes termed a magic Surrealist, but generally art historians do not place him into a specific style or genre of painting-Marc Chagall and his artwork are truly unclassifiable.

Chagall fled to the United States during the  war and the Nazi occupation of France and also had the  slightly dubious pleasure of having his only painting deemed as Degenerate in the Museum Folkwang in Essen, Germany.

I and the Village. 1911

One of Chagall's most famous painting. I and the Village .
One of Chagall's most famous painting. I and the Village .

Going Home

Chagall did return to his hometown of Vitebsk in Russia . He was appointed commissar for the fine arts after the Russian Revolution. He married his childhood sweetheart, Bella; of whom he once said ''I only had to open the window and the blue of the sky, love and flowers came pouring in with her'' and I'm sure he has painted these very words!He painted this phase of his life with kissing couples in glowing colours in love.

When  his wife Bella died in 1944 Chagall stopped painting completely. The artist was broken hearted and only through later meeting his second wife was he able to heal his soul.

He met his second great love in Russia ; Valentina Brodsky, and he found a way back to love lightness with his pictures.

Chagall believed he had found the meaning of his life through his painting ; and when you study his paintings you can understand how that thought came to be.

 He will remain one of my favorite painters of all time after seeing his work and realising the genius of the magic artist.

Adam and Eve expelled from Paradise

Marc Chagall

The artist and his work.
The artist and his work.


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    • Claudia Tello profile image

      Claudia Tello 

      6 years ago from Mexico

      Hi, this is an excellent Hub, one of the best I have read in Hubpages, which is why I created a backlink to it from my recently published "Museo Soumaya by the Richest Man in the World" Hub. I used the word "Chagall" as anchor text. Hope you don’t mind and thanks for sharing your work with us.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      He's my favourite artist, can never see enough of his work. Thank you.

    • RosWebbART profile imageAUTHOR

      Ros Webb 

      8 years ago from Ireland

      Thanks Julie;His work is intriguing , you can never get bored of Chagall.

    • JulieBull profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for a great article - I find Chagalls fantasy world intriguing and it has influenced my own artwork

    • prasetio30 profile image


      8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I can't say anything. This was totally amazing and beautiful. You comes up with interesting art object. I learn much from you. Thumbs Up. Peace :)

    • RosWebbART profile imageAUTHOR

      Ros Webb 

      8 years ago from Ireland

      Thanks for commenting on this hub ; I had to write about Chagall simply because his work is magnificent ; and I do love the fact that his work had a romantic connection and if I could achieve that intensity in colour ; I would be a happy artist!

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 

      8 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      I like that you have noticed Chagall's connection to his romantic love and his art. He was torn and rebuilt all through his love. His art has no parallel and is timeless in a way like Van Gogh although in a way more illustrative of dreams and less illustrative of life.

    • Mike Lickteig profile image

      Mike Lickteig 

      8 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

      I've always liked Chagall's work. His compositions are filled with images and, as you mentioned, the colors are vibrant and beautiful. I will confess to being influenced by Chagall for awhile--I wanted all my paintings to suggest multiple themes, as if I were painting five paintings at once. He was a truly wonderful painter.

      Thanks for sharing the work of this most gifted artist.


    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 

      8 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      Having read a lot about Chagall, I see what makes him so appealing. His art is so removed from the world that we know, it is a world we aspire to being part of, a dream scape of grand imaginings! He is wonderful. Thanks for this great hub! He is a Magic Artist!


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