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Marc Chagall, 1887-1985: Painting as Poetry

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Marc Chagall (1887-1985) is widely regarded as epitomizing the "painter as poet". The worldwide admiration he commanded remains unparalleled by any artist of the 20th century. Chagall's paintings, steeped in mythology and mysticism, portray colourful dreams and tales that are deeply rooted in his Russian Jewish origins. The memories and yearning they evoke recall his nativ Marc Chagall (1887-1985) is widely regarded as epitomizing the "painter as poet". The worldwide admiration he commanded remains unparalleled by any artist of the 20th century. Chagall's paintings, steeped in mythology and mysticism, portray colourful dreams and tales that are deeply rooted in his Russian Jewish origins. The memories and yearning they evoke recall his native Vitebsk, and the great events that mark the life of ordinary people: birth, love, marriage and death. They tell of a world full of everyday miracles - in the room of lovers, on the streets of Vitebsk, beneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Heaven and earth seem to meet in a topsy-turvy world in which whimsical figures of people and animals float through the air with gravity-defying serenity. This art album presents Chagall's work.


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Marc Chagall (1887-1985) is widely regarded as epitomizing the "painter as poet". The worldwide admiration he commanded remains unparalleled by any artist of the 20th century. Chagall's paintings, steeped in mythology and mysticism, portray colourful dreams and tales that are deeply rooted in his Russian Jewish origins. The memories and yearning they evoke recall his nativ Marc Chagall (1887-1985) is widely regarded as epitomizing the "painter as poet". The worldwide admiration he commanded remains unparalleled by any artist of the 20th century. Chagall's paintings, steeped in mythology and mysticism, portray colourful dreams and tales that are deeply rooted in his Russian Jewish origins. The memories and yearning they evoke recall his native Vitebsk, and the great events that mark the life of ordinary people: birth, love, marriage and death. They tell of a world full of everyday miracles - in the room of lovers, on the streets of Vitebsk, beneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Heaven and earth seem to meet in a topsy-turvy world in which whimsical figures of people and animals float through the air with gravity-defying serenity. This art album presents Chagall's work.

30 review for Marc Chagall, 1887-1985: Painting as Poetry

  1. 5 out of 5

    Moira Macfarlane

    Prachtige afbeeldingen van Chagall in dit boekje, erg mooi samengesteld! Maar wat vond ik het kunsthistorische gedeelte ver beneden peil. Ik zie de kleine Taschenboeken als kennismaking met een kunstenaar en ik vind dat de tekst daar rekening mee dient te houden. Schets een tijdsbeeld, laat de mens achter zijn kunstwerken zien en als je een vergelijking maakt met een ander werk van een andere kunstenaar plaats dat er dan ook bij of licht het beter toe. Verzand niet in technische beschrijvingen di Prachtige afbeeldingen van Chagall in dit boekje, erg mooi samengesteld! Maar wat vond ik het kunsthistorische gedeelte ver beneden peil. Ik zie de kleine Taschenboeken als kennismaking met een kunstenaar en ik vind dat de tekst daar rekening mee dient te houden. Schets een tijdsbeeld, laat de mens achter zijn kunstwerken zien en als je een vergelijking maakt met een ander werk van een andere kunstenaar plaats dat er dan ook bij of licht het beter toe. Verzand niet in technische beschrijvingen die mensen die niet thuis zijn in de kunst slecht kunnen volgen. Dan blijf over dat als je het wel kunt volgen het compleet oninteressant wordt beschreven. Los daarvan vond ik het kunst-historisch inhoudelijk ronduit eenzijdig en zéér ter discussie waar de schrijver de kunstwerken interpreteert. Ik weet niet precies op welke grond de schrijver/onderzoeker zijn beweringen maakt, maar ik ben het nog nooit zó totaal oneens geweest met een kunstcriticus als hier. Ik vraag me dan ook af of dat de reden is waarom de iets uitgebreidere uitgave over Chagall van Taschen door een ander iemand is geschreven en samengesteld. Het boekje is echt van een ander kaliber dan de basisboeken van Taschen die ik tot dusver las.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stefania T.

    Si immusonisce l'assenza di molti titoli che immaginavo di trovarvi, e con certezza le mire con cui ci si inoltra in questi dolci volumetti non sono la piena conoscenza e la saziante esaustivitá: ma condivido di buon umore le premesse della stessa casa editrice - quelle di facilitare un'accessibilitá economica all'arte che sia a volo d'uccello, fugace e timida, un primo passetto nell'acqua che può preludere ad una lunga amata nuotata al largo - e le ritengo rispettate con sufficiente fedeltà. Ho Si immusonisce l'assenza di molti titoli che immaginavo di trovarvi, e con certezza le mire con cui ci si inoltra in questi dolci volumetti non sono la piena conoscenza e la saziante esaustivitá: ma condivido di buon umore le premesse della stessa casa editrice - quelle di facilitare un'accessibilitá economica all'arte che sia a volo d'uccello, fugace e timida, un primo passetto nell'acqua che può preludere ad una lunga amata nuotata al largo - e le ritengo rispettate con sufficiente fedeltà. Ho già le scarpe ai piedi, pronta a partire per Milano. L'idea di una lunghissima coda, magari di un affollamento ciccione, mi agita un po'. Mi piace la parola "fluttuare".

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cynda

    I have long been mesmerized by certain aspects of Chagall's work. As a slowly developing colorist, I notice color. I see Chagall's intense forest green often used in faces and wonder at what the forest green is about. About developing a workable color palette, one Chagall liked? About the green often seen in the settlement where Chagall was born: Liozna, near town Vitebsk, in country of Belarus? Picasso used many varieties of green in his cubist portraits, none this forest green hat I can see on I have long been mesmerized by certain aspects of Chagall's work. As a slowly developing colorist, I notice color. I see Chagall's intense forest green often used in faces and wonder at what the forest green is about. About developing a workable color palette, one Chagall liked? About the green often seen in the settlement where Chagall was born: Liozna, near town Vitebsk, in country of Belarus? Picasso used many varieties of green in his cubist portraits, none this forest green hat I can see online and none I remember. The only other time I have seen that forest green is in the illustrations of Joel Stewart that graced Tales of Hans Christian Andersen. So Chagall rather unusual almost unique in use of forest green in faces. Also as a colorist, I am enchanted by the intensity of colbolt blues, parrot greens,carmine red, Tuscan red. . . . Possible understanding of the wide range and wide usage of blues. Throat chakra. Chagall struggling to communicate? Communicating through art is both subtle and loud and never exactly the same to two people. As a yoga practitioner, as pagan/flower child, I understand colors in terms of chakras as well. Possible understanding of greens, reds, roses/pinks. Heart Chakra. Chagall's heart was expansive. Chagall operated within spiritual/religious constructs. He started out as a provincial boy in an Orthodox Jewish family as a Orthodox Jewish boy. Yet he started to expand his world view by going to study and practice in St Peterburg and in Paris and to practice in US. along the way, Chagall incorporated artistic elements of Roman Catholicism. I am not sure that Judiasm in its most traditional forms is diametrically opposed to Orthodox/Catholic forms. In my mid-sized city, we have a small group of Messianic Christians, first-centurynstyle Christianity, a belief system bridging Judaism and Christianity. Was Chagall interested in first-century-type belief system? Possibly. As an artist, Chagall studied and incorporated elements of Fauvism, Cubism,and Surrealism. But never can Chagall be defined by these constructs. Based on the (rhetorical) argument presented in this small book, Chagall kept re-using images in different artistic methods as listed above in this paragraph. Maybe Chagall was striving for synthesis. Maybe life is too complicated, changeable, has too much variety and wonders that a syntjesis could not be created of all Chagall knew and experienced. And I thought I did not have much to say about this petite book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    El

    As a Russian Jew Marc Chagall incorporated mysticism, mythology, Russian and Jewish folktales, dreams, experience (in love and war) and visions in his paintings, making him what is often considered a poet. This glossy Taschen publication retains the vivid colors of many of his paintings and shows all the minute details which made Chagall's art so impressive. The paragraphs about some of the paintings left a little to be desired, skimming over a lot of historical and religious context; though con As a Russian Jew Marc Chagall incorporated mysticism, mythology, Russian and Jewish folktales, dreams, experience (in love and war) and visions in his paintings, making him what is often considered a poet. This glossy Taschen publication retains the vivid colors of many of his paintings and shows all the minute details which made Chagall's art so impressive. The paragraphs about some of the paintings left a little to be desired, skimming over a lot of historical and religious context; though considering the size of the book, it was to be expected. There were so many images I was hoping to see in the book that I have seen in person which were not in this collection, but again it was mostly to be expected. The works which were included were beautiful and showed the tender side of Chagall which I personally find especially endearing. His paintings involving his first wife, Bella, and his later paintings of his second wife, Valentina, are intense and heartbreaking. For me, looking at one Chagall painting is like reading an entire book. There are symbolic pieces within a painting (none of which, he claimed, were intentional at the time), some of which are hard to find; when I do find an image I had not expected I feel a certain pleasure, like I cracked a secret code. Perhaps it's as simple as I read into it something more than Chagall planned, but as in all great literature, that is part of what makes great art as well. Favorites (in this collection): Lovers in the Lilacs (1930), The Birthday (1915), The Falling Angel (1923-47), The Concert (1957), The Fall of Icarus (1975).

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bernie

    It is a nice introduction to the artist and the illustrations are of good quality. But I don't feel the best of Chagall's paintings were shown in this book. I have often read Taschen books on other artists and felt I got to know a little about the person behind the paintings, but not in this case. Yes, it does give facts about Marc's life but I don't feel I found out much about the type of man he was compared to other publications by Taschen.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lee Kofman

    Reading this book was a joy, just another way of indulging my interest in Chagall. it’s not too much of an art criticism book, more a biographical overview. I’d have loved more discussion of individual artworks and of the painting techniques. But nevertheless I enjoyed the main essay for its information and readability, and the choice of illustrations.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    I found this a bit of a challenge to engage with. I wanted to find out more about Marc Chagall for a couple of reasons - firstly a friend had mentioned his style to me a year or so ago, and secondly because I’m seeing “The flying lovers of Vitebsk” as part of Brighton Festival and that is about Marc and Bella. After being unsure how to approach this book - the pictures and the text don’t always completely align - I decided to read the words first, and look at the pictures when they were reference I found this a bit of a challenge to engage with. I wanted to find out more about Marc Chagall for a couple of reasons - firstly a friend had mentioned his style to me a year or so ago, and secondly because I’m seeing “The flying lovers of Vitebsk” as part of Brighton Festival and that is about Marc and Bella. After being unsure how to approach this book - the pictures and the text don’t always completely align - I decided to read the words first, and look at the pictures when they were referenced in the text. I then looked at the chronology at the back and looked at the referenced pictures again. And finally I looked at all the pictures, and read the quotes in the side parts of the book. My three favourite pictures in this book are, in the order they appear in the book, The Cattle Dealer, The Birthday, and Lovers in the Lilacs. I find some of the work quite challenging and confusing with all the various layers of imagery. I find that I like art that I can rest in, that bring a sense of peace. Or art that tells a story. I saw Marc Chagal’s stained glass window at Chichester Cathedral on Thursday - a glorious, rich red - and the timing of experiencing that fits in well with the reading of this book. I’d be interested in seeing some more of his work in “the flesh” and to experience that in a different setting.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Parker

    I enjoy look at Chagall's work on a daily basis. I have a particular fondness for his painting called "The Artist and His Wife." Unfortunately, this picture is not in the book. However, looking at this picture made me wonder: Why does he always paint chickens into his art? That's why I picked up this book. Apparently, many artists like to substitute humans for animals. Other than that I'm still not clear on his thing for chickens. Or cows for that matter. This book is a good starter for anyone w I enjoy look at Chagall's work on a daily basis. I have a particular fondness for his painting called "The Artist and His Wife." Unfortunately, this picture is not in the book. However, looking at this picture made me wonder: Why does he always paint chickens into his art? That's why I picked up this book. Apparently, many artists like to substitute humans for animals. Other than that I'm still not clear on his thing for chickens. Or cows for that matter. This book is a good starter for anyone who is newly learning about or liking Chagall's art. However, after this book I think I'm going to look for a book that shows more of his art. Some of my favourite pieces were missing from this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Louise Leach

    I can't score this book on the fabulous paintings ,as those are the artists creations not the authors. What remains therefore is the text, the story of a life told in painting, a rich and fascinating life, which the writer has managed to make into a dull read. There was a good balance of informing the reader about the meaning and symbolism in Chagall's work, and his technique, yet even that was hampered by the text not being placed on the same page as the painting being discussed. Ok as a coffee t I can't score this book on the fabulous paintings ,as those are the artists creations not the authors. What remains therefore is the text, the story of a life told in painting, a rich and fascinating life, which the writer has managed to make into a dull read. There was a good balance of informing the reader about the meaning and symbolism in Chagall's work, and his technique, yet even that was hampered by the text not being placed on the same page as the painting being discussed. Ok as a coffee table picture book only.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    This book made me appreciate Chagall even more than I previously did. It also made me realize that you cannot just glance at a Chagall but you need to really pay attention. There is so much there, so much visual information to feed the painting.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rocknetti

    4,5

  12. 5 out of 5

    Yoana

    I thought the text was a bit scattered, the methodology behind the analysis of the paintings was inconsistent, and the argumentation rather thin. Gorgeous reproductions though, obviously.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Y.S.Sbrownstone

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mlook Almjnona

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lenikka Fé

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tamara

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ioanna

  18. 4 out of 5

    Federica Brandenburg

  19. 4 out of 5

    Diana Kullman

  20. 5 out of 5

    Souraya Zureick

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tamsin

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rose Castro

  23. 4 out of 5

    Aydan

  24. 4 out of 5

    Reyzl

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lipiaugustinegmail.Com

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katrín Þ.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Greg

  28. 4 out of 5

    Carlos

  29. 4 out of 5

    Hasty Vigi

  30. 4 out of 5

    Susan Attwell

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