- Great art picks up where nature ends.
- I am out to introduce a psychic shock into my painting, one that is always motivated by pictorial reasoning: that is to say, a fourth dimension.
- If a symbol should be discovered in a painting of mine, it was not my intention. It is a result I did not seek. It is something that may be found afterwards, and which can be interpreted according to taste.
- If I were not a Jew: I wouldn't have been an artist, or I would be a different artist all together.
- 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.
- My name is Marc, my emotional life is sensitive and my purse is empty, but they say I have talent.
- Only love interest me, and I am only in contact with things I love.
Foreword to exhibition
Since my early years, I have been captivated by the Bible. It always seemed to me - as it does now - that this book is one of the most powerful sources of poetry of all time. Since then, I began to seek its reflection in life and Art. The Bible is a response to existence; this is the secret that I have tried to convey.
I painted pictures in unison with my longstanding dream, by measure of my own abilities throughout my life, although I sometimes feel that I am someone else. It might be possible to say that I was born between heaven and earth and that the world, for me, is an endless space, through which my soul wanders like a little flame.
I wanted to leave my works in this house, so that people coming here could find in them peace and quiet, spirituality, faith and the meaning of life.
I think that these works reflect the dreams of not one nation, but the whole of mankind. They appeared as a result of my meeting with French publisher Ambroise Vollard and my trip to the east. I decided that they should remain forever in France - a country in which I feel I have been reborn.
It is not for me to explain them. Works of art should speak for themselves.
People often discuss the style and in which forms and movement the colour should be placed. But colour is an innate thing. It does not depend on the style or form in which it is placed. Neither does it depend on the mastery of the brush. It lies outside all movements. Only those rare artists who possessed this innate feeling for colour remain from all movements in the history of art... The movements have been forgotten. Do not painting and colour derive inspiration in love?
Is not painting merely a reflection of our inner persona and, by this alone, does it not relegate the mastery of the brush into second place? This means little here. Colour and its lines imbibe both your character and your message.
If each life moves steadily towards its end, leading its own life, we are obliged to tinge it with our own paints of love and hope. The social logic of life and the essence of any religion lie in this love. I believe that we owe our aspiration towards perfection, both in Art and in life, to this biblical source. If you are not convinced of this, if you spiritlessly take only the mechanics of logic and construction as the basis, then neither Art nor life will bring fruit.
Young and not so young people will, perhaps, come to this house in search of an ideal of fraternity and love as dreamt by my paints and lines. Perhaps, standing before them, they will utter those words of love that I feel towards them. Perhaps, there will be no more enmity and, like a mother bringing her child into the world in pain and love, these young and not so young people will create their own world of love, employing new colours.
And everyone, no matter what their religion is, will be able to come here and speak about this dream, far from anger and resentment.
I would also like works of art and documents testifying to the high spirituality of all nations to be exhibited here, so that music and poetry spoken by the heart can be heard. Is an incarnation of my dream possible?
In art, as in life, everything is possible, if it is based on love.
Symbolism in Marc Chagall's paintings
- Cow: life par excellence: milk, meat, leather, horn, power.
- Tree: another life symbol.
- Cock: fertility, often painted together with lovers.
- Bosom (often naked): eroticism and fertility of life (Chagall loved and respected women).
- Fiddler: in Chagall's town Vitebsk the fiddler made music at crosspoints of life (birth, wedding, death).
- Herring (often also painted as a flying fish): commemorates Chagall's father working in a fish factory.
- Pendulum Clock: time, and modest life (in the time of prosecution at the Loire River the pendulum seems being driven with force into the wooden box of the pendulum clock).
- Candlestick: two candles symbolize the Shabbat or the Menorah (candlestick with seven candles) or the Hanukkah-candlestick, and therefore the life of pious Jews (Chassidim).
- Windows: Chagall's Love of Freedom, and Paris through the window.
- Houses of Vitebsk (often in paintings of his time in Paris): feelings for his homeland.
- Scenes of the Circus: Harmony of Man and Animal, which induces Creativity in Man.
- Crucifixion of Jesus: an unusual subject for a Jewish painter, and likely a response to the rise of anti-Semitism in Germany in the late 1930s.
- Horses: Freedom.
- The Eiffel Tower: Up in the sky, freedom.
Marc Chagall Art
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