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Before visiting a local exhibit on Chagall , I must say I didn’t know much of his works apart from the magnificient ceiling he painted 52 years ago at the Opera House in Paris ( Palais Garnier), a joyful and colourful ceiling I remember from long ago.
This time, I read in the local press there was going to be an exceptional exhibit of 300 of his works ( paintings, carvings, ceramics) related to poetry, but not only.
I don’t know how long I stayed in the art gallery, glued to Chagall’s works. I enjoyed the “the great game of color” ( Malraux )
What I like most was to see the details he added to his paintings, remisniscent of his life in Russia as a young boy in a rural area. I loved his tiny, small and huge roosters, maybe out of nostalgia too.
Like most painters, the world of the circus fascinated him: in his small Belarusian town, “the transient acrobats and illusionists were eagerly awaited; travelling to every corner of Russia, they brought with them an air of freedom and celebration that fascinated his inner child.” They remained in his dreams all his lifetime.
Chagall wrote: ” I have always considered clowns, acrobats and actors as beings tragically human who’d ressemble, for me, the characters of some religious paintings”.
I spotted one of his drawings about the bombing of Guernica in 1937. I must admit it didn’t come a wee bit near Picasso’s anti war powerful breath.
But he made up for it in his drawing below:
Chagall’s Fall of Icarus might be the painting that attracted me most. I am not , by any means an art expert but, I had the feeling all the colours Marc Chagall used were condensed in this painting: ” When Henri Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what color really is. I’m not crazy about his roosters and asses and flying violinists, and all the folklore, but his canvases are really painted, not just thrown together. Some of the last things he’s done in Vence convince me that there’s never been anybody since Renoir who has the feeling for light that Chagall has.” (Picasso)