For Belarusian painter Marc Chagall (1887–1985), painting was an intricate tapestry of dreams, tales, and traditions. His instantly recognizable visual language carved out a unique early 20th-century niche, often identified as one of the earliest expressions of psychic experience.
Chagall’s canvases are characterized by loose brushwork, deep colors, a particular fondness for blue, and a repertoire of recurring tropes including musicians, roosters, rooftops, flowers, and floating lovers. For all their ethereal charms, his compositions were often rich and complex in their references. They wove together not only colors and forms, but also his Jewish roots with his present encounters in Paris, markers of faith with gestures of love and symbols of hope with testimonies of trauma. This dependable artist introduction explores the many versions of Chagall’s rich vocabulary. Across scenes of birth, love, marriage, and death, from images of the Eiffel Tower to scenes in his native Vitebsk, it celebrates a unique aesthetic, as elegant to the eye as it is enticing to the imagination.