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Marc Chagall and the Lost Jewish World: The Nature of Chagall's Art and Iconography
     

Marc Chagall and the Lost Jewish World: The Nature of Chagall's Art and Iconography

by Benjamin Harshav
 

"If I were not a Jew . . . I wouldn't have been an artist, or I would be a different artist altogether." -Marc Chagall, Leaves from My Notebook. Marc Chagall is one of the most popular artists of the 20th century, famous for his poetic, surreal images that represent a topsy-turvy world, combining fantasy and spirituality with a modernist style. This volume serves

Overview

"If I were not a Jew . . . I wouldn't have been an artist, or I would be a different artist altogether." -Marc Chagall, Leaves from My Notebook. Marc Chagall is one of the most popular artists of the 20th century, famous for his poetic, surreal images that represent a topsy-turvy world, combining fantasy and spirituality with a modernist style. This volume serves as a guide to the iconography of Chagall's best-loved work—in which he frequently included Jewish symbolism and folklore, sometimes overtly, sometimes in hidden, quite meaningful ways—offering insight into Chagall's Jewish roots and succinct interpretations of his major paintings, from his early masterpieces made in Russia and in Paris to his Yiddish art theater paintings. Harshav illuminates Chagall's most famous paintings of the Jewish shtetl, or provincial Russian town, and highlights the recognizable trademarks of his art, such as the "fiddler on the roof." It also interprets in detail Chagall's theater murals and his beautiful stained-glass windows at the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Although Chagall is not known only as a Jewish artist, his background was the prism through which he saw the world and served as the language of his universally loved art.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Harshav (comparative literature, Hebrew languages, & Slavic languages, Yale), who has written elsewhere on Marc Chagall (e.g., Marc Chagall and His Times: A Documentary Narrative), here examines Chagall's work in the context of the cultural and artistic worlds in which he lived. Chagall was influenced by the pre-1914 Jewish life of Russia (and particularly Vitebsk, then in the Pale), but his work included various elements of Christian art, creating an innovative blending of two cultures. After emigrating to Paris, he became involved with the leading French artists, including cubists, expressionists, and surrealists. In this carefully researched work, Harshav successfully defines and answers the important questions about Chagall's work, discussing his time in Vitebsk, his theater work for Leon Bakst, and the work he produced in Paris. Readers are treated to a fascinating discussion of the iconography of his theater paintings, the lost Jewish world, and the Yiddish art theater, all of which contributed to his artistic view. The plentiful illustrations are very well reproduced, and the bibliography is thorough and helpful. Recommended for public and all art research libraries. Martin Chasin, Adult Inst., Bridgeport, CT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780847828029
Publisher:
Rizzoli
Publication date:
04/25/2006
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
9.36(w) x 13.30(h) x 1.12(d)

Meet the Author

Benjamin Harshav is professor of Comparative Literature, Hebrew language and Literature, and Slavic languages at Yale University. His many publications include Marc Chagall and His Times: A Documentary Narrative, Marc Chagall and the Jewish Theater, and Marc Chagall on Art and Culture.

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