On the Cote d’Azur, in the world-famous city of Nice, there is a museum dedicated to Marc Chagall’s work. He insisted to be known as a French artist who achieved great fame in America, but never publicly mentioned his native Vitebsk.
However, in every artistic project by Chagall, there are fragments of Vitebsk permeating his pieces. You will discover illustrated Vitebsk natives floating in unearthly happiness. He created what he envisioned what the Jewish life of the locals would be like. Although he tried to forget about the country of his childhood and adolescence, he still glorified it through his artistry
From 1962-1967, Marc Chagall created a series of works dedicated to his reflections of the Old Testament. This topic is not accidental, Chagall comes from a religious Jewish family, where studying the Torah was a compulsory duty. The interpretation of biblical scenes, the search for hidden meanings has always perplexed artists, poets, and musicians. Chagall wrote 17 large-sized canvases where he illustrated some of the plots of the Old Testament. Among such works are, Creation of the World, Sacrifice of Isaac, Noah and the Rainbow, Paradise, Exile from Paradise and The Dream of Jacob.
The artist was inevitably satisfied with his work. Speaking about his series of paintings, he uttered, “It seems to me that they represent the dream not of a separate people, but of all mankind.” Chagall presented all his works of art to the French government and in his will, he expressed his wish that they should be exhibited in the Louvre.
The museum did not to exhibit his remarkable works of art until he passed. The management of Louvre refused to modify its rule of not exposing the works of living artists. Therefore, the Minister of Culture of France, Andre Malraux, proposed the creation of a new museum. The mission was to present the Biblical Messages by Marc Chagall.
The city authorities of Nice allocated a great piece of land that included the remains of a destroyed building in the old district of Cimieux. French architect, Andre Hermon, designed a beautiful small one-story building with exhibition spaces and a small concert hall. Chagall himself took an active part in the design of the park surrounding the museum. Chagall designed the Garden of Eden to flatter his masterpieces.
The museum’s grand opening took place on July 7, 1973.
The permanent exhibition of the museum was created by Chagall. Each painting is located precisely where the artist instructed. The placement of Chagall’s pieces certainly gives importance to the entire museum. In the first hall, the artist placed twelve canvases with scenes from the books of Genesis and Exodus. All paintings have a predominance of emerald and blue tones. The second hall is devoted to the book, Song of Songs – five love lyric scenes, which the artist painted in red. The third hall is dedicated to temporary expositions. In the concert hall, Chagall created stained glass windows, dedicated to the 7 days of the creation of the world. The famous blue color also dominates the stained-glass windows.
Marc Chagall passed away in 1985 and was buried in a small cemetery in Saint-Paul-de-Vence under a modest grave stone. However, Chagall’s official memorial is placed in the small museum, where one can find his Bible Epistle surrounded by his Garden of Eden.
According to the will of Chagall and his wife Valentina, all his artworks belong entirely to France.
Marc Chagall lived a long life that was filled with creativity until his last days. The late years of the artist’s life were dedicated to the museum in Nice and its magnificent garden.
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