April 22, 2020

Marc Chagall's Art: "Blue Spirituality"

Russian-French artist, Marc Chagall, lived from 1887-1985. He was a great mystical painter and the color blue was his choice in which to represent the spiritual and transcendent side through symbolism.

In the 1950's, Picasso said, "When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what colour really is". Matisse and Chagall were both fauvist painters.

Chagall was born the oldest of nine children in a very religious Hasidic Jewish family, where life was defined by faith and organized by prayer. He at one point said that he did not understand his own paintings, but appeared to paint surrealistic dreamy paintings touched with glimpses from some other side or dimension. The spiritual influences are profound with his angels and symbols, if not the color blue. Beings are floating more often than they have their feet planted on the ground. His images of combined female-male symbolize the spiritual divine feminine present in everyone, just as the masculine qualities are present. It would appear he was in love with love itself.

French philosopher Gaston Bachelard commented that "Chagall reads the Bible and suddenly the passages become light." This referred to the many stained glass window projects he designed and became famous for.

He also used circus clowns and scenes to depict spiritual inspirations.

In 1964 Chagall created a stained-glass window, entitled Peace, for the UN building in New York, in honor of Dag Hammarskjöld, the UN's second secretary general who was killed in an airplane crash in Africa in 1961 along with others on a peace mission. The window is about 15 feet by 12 feet and contains symbols of peace and love along with musical symbols. (See below)



Isaiah 9:6 is one of the Bible verses as inspiration for Chagall's United Nations Peace Window:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

The following is "The Vision" or apparition done 1924-1937, now at the Tate.


Next, is "The Candlestick", a 1962 lithograph.


The Jewish Chagall also painted many crucifixion scenes, starting at age 25. He became attached to, and identified with Christ. He used Christ Jesus as his symbol of a prophet. Overall, his paintings and stained glass windows represented the collective consciousness in their universality. This was a time period just following New Age spirituality creeping in with Madame Blavatsky founding the Theosophical Society in 1875. His art message might even be interpreted as Oneness. His vivid crucifixion and Christ images are captivating and inviting.


It would seem Chagall might have been one of those humans that had a thin veil, giving him an ability to actually see some of these spirits that dwell amongst us. It would also be curious to know if he ever had a near death experience. This comment considers the bulk of his work, and is not necessary evident in the paintings shown in this post.

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