For much of painter Marc Chagall’s long life, the famed artist’s genius was frowned upon in the Soviet Union.
Today, however, Chagall, who was born in modern-day Belarus, is enjoying a revival in the former USSR, with a new exhibition examining the influence of folk art and his Jewish heritage on his work.
An exhibition at Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery seeks to “help people to understand the mystery of Chagall,” who always looked to popular art in his search for a distinctive figurative language, said curator Ekaterina Selezneva.
“Visitors often ask, why Chagall’s animals are blue, yellow or pink, why the bride is flying over the rooftops and the man has two faces. They will now understand where Chagall drew (his images) from,” she said.
Born Moishe Segal in 1887 to a poor Jewish family outside Vitebsk in modern Belarus, Chagall never turned his back on his life in the Jewish pale – the area to which Tsarina Catherine II confined the Jews of her empire in the 18th century – and recalls images of Vitebsk in each painting, according to Agence France-Presse.