Marc Chagall dream of humanity, folk inspired visual thoughts and finding the meaning in life by doing something that doesn’t revert the gaze away from the sky and the stars
Reality is processed into distilled form that reveals the working of the mind
Unlike most of his contemporaries, running away from the horrors of the reality between 1914 and 1945, during the two wars and dark European history, Chagall almost religiously embraced those tragedies, distilled them and transferred into the paintings, focusing on the dream like, warm atmosphere with folk and religious elements. The symbolism is deeply poetical and the use of color seems to immediately attract the viewers.
He remained faithful to the figurative treatment of the objects in his paintings, and even though he inspired, explored and was influenced by various movements such as Fauvism, Cubism, Symbolism,… his output is so great and diverse that he could have never been categorized as a representative of one single movement.
Today he is one of the most famous artists of the 20th century, just because of his artistic language that doesn’t fit into any categorization.
Deeply disturbing elements from totalitarian society in making (Nazi) and Chagall’s views of life and purpose
Great art picks up where nature ends.
In our life there is a single color, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love.
While the world was going through destructive stages best described in the following passage by
Wullschlager who describes the early effects on art:
The Nazis had begun their campaign against modernist art as soon as they seized power. Expressionist, cubist, abstract, and surrealist art—anything intellectual, Jewish, foreign, socialist-inspired, or difficult to understand—was targeted, from Picasso and Matisse going back to Cézanne and van Gogh; in its place traditional German realism, accessible and open to patriotic interpretation, was extolled
Chagall focused on the exploration of allegory and increasingly dream like narrative, and the symbolism behind each element in his painting, as the poet and critic Guillaume Apollinaire once said, Chagall’s work is “supernatural.” He was integrating from various fields rather than fragmenting and searching for the singular aspects to focus on.
“My hands were too soft.. I had to find some special occupation, some kind of work that would not force me to turn away from the sky and the stars, that would allow me to discover the meaning of life.” Marc Chagall
Chagall explored the posibilities of Psychic reality in paintings and this was one of the first appearances in 20th Century of exploring the subconscious realms. Delving deep into the poetical folklore, fantasy and emotional responses he experienced seemed to be the dominant aspects that transpassed any contemporary idealism that was springing forward.
Today more than ever this approach seems relevant, as we explored the conceptual universes of all the movements that fragmented, Chagall’s art is massively influential in the opposite direction towards unity and the dream of inspiration. We live in the age of technological perpetual innovation, influx of media and information organized in clusters with the mission of their own. Vast range of international influences, all of which stimulate in many aspects just reactive mode and internal world of fantasy, integrity and imagination could have difficulties surfacing with all the saturation.
“When I am finishing a picture, I hold some God-made object up to it – a rock, a flower, the branch of a tree or my hand – as a final test. If the painting stands up beside a thing man cannot make, the painting is authentic. If there’s a clash between the two, it’s bad art.”