Marc Chagall

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Marc Zakharovich Chagall was born on July 6, 1887. He was a well-known artist of a Russian-French descent. Labeled as modernist, he was the pioneer of a multitude of artistic styles and forms. It is safe to say that there is yet to be an art medium that he did not worked in.

Marc Chagall was born in a Jewish family. He had eight siblings to whom he was the eldest. His surname was a derivative of the name Segal. His father, Khatskl (Zachar) Shagal, used to worked for a herring merchant. His mother, Feige-Ite, was in the business of selling groceries. Chagall’s father was known to be a hard working man. Yet, his income refused to reflect the same. Chagall held a great amount of respect for his father.

Much of what is known about Challgall’s life is drawn from his autobiography, My Life. In the book he authenticated how the Hasidic Judaism affected his artistic mindset. He also mentions how the Jewish children in Russia were prohibited from attending any educational institutes. Even their movement was limited. Chagall, thereupon, was compelled to enroll himself in a local Jewish religious school. Over here he learned more about the Bible and Hebrew. When he turned thirteen, his mother made every effort possible to get him admitted to a Russian high school. The dilemma was that the institute was bent upon not letting Jewish children in. His mother, brave as she was, walked up to the headmaster and offered him money to take in Chagall. The headmaster, with much hesitation, accepted the offer.

Chagall was introduced to his innate passion for arts when he first witnessed a fellow student sketching. Even though there was no trace of art his lineage, he found himself immediately drawn to the activity. Upon inquiring his friend about how he had learned to draw, his friend replied, “Go and find a book in the library, idiot, choose any picture you like, and just copy it”. Soon after, he began drawing pictures from books and magazines. He enjoyed the process so much that he could no longer imagine a life without indulging himself in it every day.

In 1906, Chagall relocated to Petersburg. The place is known for being an incubator of artistry. There he enrolled in a prestigious art school where he studied for two years. By 1907, he had become involved in creating naturalistic self-portraits and landscapes. He also met the love of his life Bella Rosenfeld whom he soon got engaged to. Chagall described her as someone who saw through him and made him feel as she knew everything about him.

In 1910, Chagall moved to Paris with the intention of fostering his artistic style. While cubism was the prevalent trend there, Chagall’s art functioned on themes like sentiments and human emotions. He was just twenty three at the time and found awfully hard to settle in most of the time he just felt painfully lonely.

Around 1914, Chagall began to miss his fiancée who was still in Vitebsk. He accepted an offer to be an art dealer in Berlin. This was also an opportunity for him to display his work. His creations during this time included Homage to Apollinaire (1911–12) and Paris through the Window (1913).

In 1915 Chagall married Bella. Three years later he was appointed the commissar of arts in Vitebsk Popular Art School. During the time he also learned more about engraving.

In the 1930s, Chagall traveled extensively. It was only in 1948 when he settled in France. In 1958 Chagall also designed costumes for the ballet, Daphnis and Chloe and in 1960s, he experimented with stained glass paintings.

Marc Chagall died in France, on March 28, 1985, leaving behind a legacy of work in every dimension of art.

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