Analysis: I and the Village by Marc Chagall

Gilles Farina
Publié le 13 July 2023
Analysis: I and the Village by Marc Chagall

Marc Chagall was born on July 7, 1887, in Liozna. To celebrate his birthday month, let's take a look back at one of the famous painter's most beautiful paintings. "I and the Village" plunges us into the artist's cherished childhood memories. Museum TV invites you to take a closer look at this work by Marc Chagall, dating from 1911.

A subtle message

Here we are immersed in the painter's memories, halfway between reality and imagination. Chagall depicted his hometown of Vitebsk in Russia. Since his arrival in Paris in 1911, he had felt a profound nostalgia for his homeland.

On the right side, there is a green profile of a man, likely Chagall himself. He holds a branch with flowers, a biblical symbol of life. It appears as if he is offering it to the animal, a goat. In the traditional Jewish beliefs practiced in Vitebsk, the goat welcomes the souls of sinners after their death. The man and the goat gaze at each other, seemingly connected. In fact, their eyes are connected by a subtle line.

Childhood memories

Multiple memories are overlaid on this canvas. On the left side, we see a woman milking a goat. In the background, there is a small village with its Orthodox church. A woman is depicted dancing in a backward motion. Just in front of her, a man walks by with a scythe, symbolizing death.

In his compositions, the painter skillfully combines vibrant colors with floating and distorted shapes, disregarding the rules of perspective, in order to challenge realism. This approach allows him to create a dreamlike and almost magical world, which reflects his "states of mind" and evokes a blossoming of memories within his consciousness. Despite being a humble and impoverished village, the world of his childhood is transformed through the lens of distance and time, becoming a place of enchantment and wonder.

Marc Chagall photographed by Pierre Choumoff (circa 1920)

In summary, Marc Chagall's artwork is often infused with memories of his childhood. In "I and the Village," the artist explores his recollections and emotional connection to his hometown.

Visit our streaming platform for all the latest art news!