“Bouquet, Woman and Horse”
Table of Contents
Chagall’s Personal Style
Chagall’s Use of Color
Characterization and Symbolism
“Bouquet, Woman and Horse” (1957-9): Analysis
Integrating Art with the English Curriculum
After much deliberation, I decided to write my paper on Marc Chagall and his painting “Bouquet, Woman and Horse” (1957-9), which is exhibited in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. (Unfortunately, I was not able to find a picture of this painting on the internet, neither on the Tel Aviv Museum website, nor on countless others, of museums, galleries, and poster stores, where I searched).
My deliberation was due to the lack of any background in the arts, a fact which frustrated me throughout the course, as I had no tools with which to understand and analyze works of art. With foresight, everything seems clear and obvious, but on my own, the task seems insurmountable. I feel that I learned a lot, but it is only the tip of the iceberg, and I do not as yet feel qualified.
So… I am going with my gut feelings. I chose a painting with which I immediately felt a connection. The colors, the imagery, everything in the painting drew me to it unexplainably. I stood gazing at it, unable to turn away, unable to understand the magic, but the magic was there. And now, I wanted to understand.
Marc Chagall, or Mark Zakharovich Shagal, (1887-1985) was born in Vitebsk, Russia, the eldest of nine children in a poor family of Hasidic Jews. His childhood in a deeply religious home provided the subject matter for many of his paintings that depicted Jewish life, folklore and tales of Jewish mysticism and stories of the Bible. His paintings were his memories, and their images are seen in many of his works.
Against his parents’ wishes, he decided to be an artist. He went to art school in St. Petersburg, where he was exposed to different movements in art. He found a patron who was prepared to pay his fare to Paris and provide him with a monthly allowance to study.
In Paris at that time (1910-1914), Fauvism and Cubism were the prevailing art movements, and his work reflected that. He was influenced by them, but he felt that Cubism lacked poetry and color. He refused to formally align himself with the Cubists. He did, however, incorporate their principles with his own dreamlike qualities into a unique and expressive personal style.
He was on a visit to Russia in 1914 when war broke out in Europe and he was forced to stay. He married there and had a child and then returned to Paris in 1923. In Paris he again declined to join a movement – he refused to participate in the Surrealist group, even though his style reflected their principles. It took several more years of hardship until his name became known worldwide.
In 1933, as the Nazis rose to power, some of his work was ordered to be burned. When war broke out, Chagall moved to the south of France and then to the United States, when the Nazis invaded France. He received a series of commissions during the war years for theatrical and ballet designs.
When his wife died in 1944, he stopped painting for months. In 1947 he returned to France, making his home in the south and eventually remarrying. Between the years 1946-1948, Chagall found color lithography to be the perfect graphic medium for his art, and began working intensively. In the 1960’s he was commissioned to create stained glass windows for the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, where he drew on his relationship with his Jewish faith. He also created stained glass windows in 1977 to celebrate the US Bicentennial and as an expression of his gratitude to the US. He died in St. Paul de Vence, France on March 28, 1985 at the age of 95.
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