Bella with white collar - Sample Essay

In 1913-1914 the dynamics of his social life accelerated: “Chagall contributed to the Salon des Independants and Salon d’autonomne as well as to Larionov’s Donkey Tail exhibition in Moscow” (Hodge and Anson, 1995, p. 83). After the tension, created by simultaneous exhibition and the need to work hastily, Chagall returned to Vitebsk, where he married Bella Rosenberg, who would become his muse for many years.

A number of paintings are dedicated to Bella, for instance, “Birthday” (1915) depicts the affection and warmth of his congratulations for Bella: the couple depicted seems to hover over the ground, probably in the ecstasy of their mutually strong feeling. All presents and birthday surprises are depicted as minor details, as the central aspect of the piece of art is Chagall’s unity with Bella.

Another painting, “Bella with white collar” (1917), shows a seemingly strict woman in her Sunday’s dress, but the juicy lawn at the bottom of the painting implies her femininity, her fragility and probably her motherhood – although the tones are rather contrasting than harmonious, the artwork discloses exceptionally tender feelings for the woman (Hodge and Anson, 1995). Cjagall was an active participant of the 1917 Revolution and later became a founder of the first school of art is Vitebsk Nevertheless, due to the prevalence of ‘revolutionary realism’ in art (introduced by Malevich), he was forced to leave his homeland for Moscow.

Although artist didn’t abandon his basic career, he later became famous as an organizer of exhibitions and even theatrical performances in various cities such as Berlin, Paris and Vienna (Beckett, 2000). He left the Soviet Union because of growing political aggression against Jews of creative professions, and moved to Germany, where he had to escape from after the beginning of WWII: “In 1941 he had to leave Germany and seek shelter in the United States” (Beckett, 2000, p. 148).

Later, in 1944, Bella passed away, and Chagall fell into deep depression, which came to its logical ending at the beginning of the 1950s, when he met Virginia Haggard, with whom “he rediscovered a free and vibrant color. His works of this period are dedicated to love and the joy of life, with curved, sinuous figures. He also began to work in sculpture, ceramics, and stained glass” (ibid, p. 150).

Such paintings as “Le Mariee” (“The Bride”) (1950) and “Lovers in the red sky” (1950) expressively depict the rebirth of his talent: for instance, the young girl, a central figure of “The Bride” is an embodiment of purity and youth – similarly to the girl, who enters the new stage of her social ‘lifespan’ (marriage), the painter also began a new page of his productive life, in which his talent resurrected. In 1952 Chagall married Valentine Brodskiy, who persuaded him to begin his series of paintings on various Biblical themes.

His “Song of Songs” (1960) is a symbolic reflection of the nature of the Bible, which includes the creation and God’s rule over the Earth and all living beings (Hodge and Anson, 1995). The main color used is fuchsia, which means, the world is bright and life is vibrant, but it is important to remember the roots of all existing phenomena and objects. “Jacob’s dream” (1954-1967) depicts a character of the Biblical story about Jacob, who saw prophetic dreams. “Adam and Eve expelled from Paradise” (1954-1967) presents another Biblical motif of the initial sin, which resulted in the loss of Paradise for the two first humans.

Adam and Eve are saying the last goodbye to their motherland, being driven out by God’s servant, an angel. Importantly, Lord is depicted as a yellow radiance. In addition, Chagall contributed to the design of legendary buildings: “Among his largest projects was the decoration of the ceiling of the Paris Opera (1964) and the murals for the Metropolitan Opera in New York (1965). He also explored the technique of stained-glass, designing windows for the Cathedral in Metz (1959-62) and for Saint Etienne Church at Mayence (1978-81)” (Hodge and Anson, 1995, p. 112). Chagall died in 1985 and was buried at Saint-Paul Town Cemetery in France.

To sum up, the artist’s life and creative activity are the brilliant example of human resistibility to political, social and personal tragedies: deprived of his motherland after the establishment of the USSR, he was unable to find as warm place to live as his home was. Even being an international ‘homeless cosmopolite’, he continued to paint and participate in exhibitions, although rejected in Russia and Germany, he had maintained the power of his artistic expression up to his death.

Appendix 1. “Me and my village” (1911) (from http://www. mcs. csuhayward. edu/~malek/Chagal1. htmlt,2005)