Marc Chagall

“I am often asked: what do you call colour and its chemistry? The same can be said about colour as is said about music: The depth of colour goes through the eyes and remains within the soul, in the same way that music enters the ear and stay in the soul.”
– Marc Chagall (quoted in J. Baal-Teshuva (ed.), Chagall: A Retrospective, Westport, 1995, p. 181.)

Painted a year before Chagall’s death in 1985, “Amoureux à l’arc en ciel” or ‘rainbow lovers’, revolves around one of the artist’s most iconic motifs – the ‘lovers’. The inspiration for this couple in a thight embrace is often traced back to Chagall’s deep love for his first wife, the poet Bella Rosenfeld, who tragically died in 1944. Chagall frequently integrated representations of Bella into his paintings to immortalise her memory in an everlasting and accessible form. Set against the backdrop of Vitebsk, the lovers’ are accompanied by a rainbow. The rainbow’s block colours are consistent with other works produced during the latter stages of the artist’s life in the 1980s in Saint Paul de Vence.

What makes this work special is the way Chagall expertly combines structures and forms. A milkmaid, men in hats, a bouquet of flowers, chickens, a donkey, and a cow are all united to construct a diverse composition – a unification of the human, animal, and vegetal. This amalgamation is most evident in the upper-right corner, where, encased in yellow, Chagall humorously added a face to the feathers of the chicken.

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