Case Study, Marc Chagall

Topics: Judaism, Jews, Marc Chagall Pages: 5 (1963 words) Published: May 18, 2013
Discuss how the environment and other influences, for example personal beliefs, have shaped the work of at least one artist you have studied this year. Refer to work done by this artist to substantiate your statements. Marc Chagall was a Russian/French artist who was born into a poor family of Hassidic Jews on the 7th July 1887. Throughout his working life he was based in Russia from 1906-1910, then he moved to France for four more years before moving back to Russia and Soviet Belarus for eight years. Chagall was strongly influenced, but not limited to, movements such as Cubism, Fauvism and Surrealism. These movements are demonstrated in his work through the geometric shapes, his use of colour and the seemingly random placement of people and objects in his works. Chagall described his work as, “… extravagant art, a flaming vermillion, a blue soul flooding over my paintings.” Chagall’s childhood in the small country town of Vitebsk, Belarus was happy and is another influence for his artworks. Small provincial ghettos are presented in some way in many of his artworks. Chagall said that, “The soil that nourished the roots of my art was Vitebsk”. Many childhood memories are presented in his artworks. His religion is also another large influence fore Chagall, many of his paintings include Jewish symbolism and refer to Judaism. There were limited opportunities to study art in Vitebsk and after an argument with his father; he moved to St Petersburg to study, he lived quite a risky and independent life. Shortly after, he moved to Paris where he met friends, Robert and Sonia Delauney. They were very influential to his style- predominantly in Chagall’s use of colour and in his cubist technique. While living in the poverty areas of Paris, he lightened his palette and his use of colour became more harmonious and unified. This is the palette that creates the basis for some of his well known works such as “I and the Village” (1911), “The Green Violinist” (1923-24), and “Solitude” (1933). Chagall has managed to produce many great works of art throughout his life and was greatly influenced by his surroundings, childhood, friends and Judaic religion. In 1911, Chagall was living in the poverty area of La Ruche. This is where he created “I and the Village”, an artwork that is a dreamlike/surreal representation of Chagall’s childhood memories. This is a colourful and busy painting that has a subtle blend of organic and geometrical shapes within. The bright colours create interest as they are often contrasting with each other. For example, the green face against the red background. The colours are vivid and flat, with a minimal use of blending, this shows Chagall’s use of fauvism. The minimal use of blending also adds to the form of the painting, which is quite flat in most areas and the objects look two-dimensional. The radial balance created by the lines leading into the centre of the artwork draw a specific emphasis to the main focal points, that is, the green man and the goat. The man is wearing a pink hat, a beaded necklace with the sign of the cross on it, a purple and yellow shirt and a ring with the Star of David on it symbolising Judaism. The man is holding up a bushel of leaves and it appears as though he is presenting it to the goat. The goat is placed within the golden mean and it is a close up of its head. The goat is composed of many geometrical shapes. It is looking into the eyes of the man and the man is looking into the eyes of the goat. This could symbolise that the man has a strong connection with the goat or the village in which the goat belongs to. In the background of the reveals street of houses and buildings, some of which are upside down adding to the surrealist feel of the artwork. In front of the houses there are two people, a man who is holding a pick and a woman who is upside down. The last significant feature in the artwork is the woman milking a goat, in the face of the larger goat. All of these objects and...
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