I knew very little about Marc Chagall, although I could recognize his paintings by their very distinctive style, until my last visit to the library where I was happy to find the little book, Marc Chagall, Painter of Dreams, by Natalie S. Bober (a favorite author of mine). He lived quite a life, this painter of dreams. He was born in Russia in 1887, and knew at a very young age that he wanted to be an artist. He left his beloved homeland as a young adult to study and paint in St. Petersburg and then in Paris, returning to his village, Vitebsk, to marry the love of his life, Bella.
He was a deeply spiritual and religious man. From the Norton Art Museum web site:
He was raised as a Hassidic Jew, a sect which lays emphasis on dreams, holidays and joy. Chagall’s often joyous and humorous paintings frequently feature elements of Vitebsk’s skyline, folk rituals, occupations, pastimes, music and art. In combining classic Hassidic and folkloristic motifs with twentieth-century innovations, Chagall had the power of appealing to all people.
He lived a full life, which was both joyous and also full of hardship and tragedy. Many of his great paintings were lost or destroyed during World War II, but he continued creating art, in his later years expanding into beautiful painted ceramics, gorgeous stained glass, and brilliant set and costume design. He lived to be 97 years old.
Chagall’s paintings and other works are full of color, especially the color blue. His stained glass is particularly beautiful, and Bober stated that he used “stained glass to express his religious belief that light and color come from within.” When Chagall was asked why the color blue was so prominent in his work, he answered, “Why blue? Because I am blue, just as Rembrandt was brown.”
This is another book I have read and thoroughly enjoyed for Sarah’s Art History Reading Challenge.