Marc Chagall

Submitted by admin on Thu, 09/15/2016 - 19:32
Chagall, self portrait with 7 digits, 1913
Chagall, self portrait with 7 digits, 1913

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  • 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.
  • Only love interests me, and I am only in contact with things that revolve around love.
  • The fingers must be educated, the thumb is born knowing.
  • If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.
  • Great art picks up where nature ends.
  • In our life there is a single colour, as on an artist's palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the colour of love.
  • All colours are the friends of their neighbours and the lovers of their opposites.
  • The dignity of the artist lies in his duty of keeping awake the sense of wonder in the world. In this long vigil he often has to vary his methods of stimulation; but in this long vigil he is also himself striving against a continual tendency to sleep.
  • If Russian painters were condemned to become the pupils of the West they were, I think, rather unfaithful ones by their very nature. The best Russian realist conflicts with the realism of Courbet. The most authentic Russian Impressionism leaves on perplexed if one compares it with Monet and Pisarro. Here, in the Louvre, before the canvases of Manet, Millet and others, I understood why my alliance with Russia and Russian art did not take root. Why my language itself is foreign to them. Why people do not place confidence in me. Why the artistic circles fail to recognize me. Why in Russia I am entirely useless.. ..In Paris, it seemed to me that I was discovering everything, above all a mastery of technique.. ..It was not in technique alone that I sought the meaning of art then. It was as if the gods had stood before me.. ..I had the impression that we are still only roaming on the surface of matter,  that we are afraid to plunge into chaos, to shatter and overthrow beneath our feet the familiar surface. (reaction on his first arrival in Paris, 1910)


Marc Chagall born 6 July 1887, died 28 March 1985 was a Russian-French artist. An early modernist, he was associated with several major artistic styles and created works in virtually every artistic medium, including painting, book illustrations, stained glass, stage sets, ceramic, tapestries and fine art prints.

Chagall was considered to be "the last survivor of the first generation of European modernists". Using the medium of stained glass, he produced windows for the cathedrals of Reims and Metz, windows for the UN, and the Jerusalem Windows in Israel. He also did large-scale paintings, including part of the ceiling of the Paris Opéra.

Before World War I, he traveled between St. Petersburg, Paris, and Berlin. During this period he created his own mixture and style of modern art based on his idea of Eastern European Jewish folk culture.

He experienced modernism's "golden age" in Paris, where "he synthesized the art forms of Cubism, Symbolism, and Fauvism, and the influence of Fauvism gave rise to Surrealism". Yet throughout these phases of his style "he remained most emphatically a Jewish artist, whose work was one long dreamy reverie of life in his native village of Vitebsk."

Links st the Guggenheim Artcyclopedia for his works around the world