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C h a g a l l October 17, 2013

Posted by cantueso in art, Bible, painting.
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Stained Glass

paris sainte chapelle

The Rose window of the Sainte Chapelle, Paris, France

Stained glass appeared in architecture about a thousand years ago. The idea was to control incoming light with panels of coloured glass.

At first they simply painted glass but later they found out how to heat-fuse metal pigments into the glass fragments. Lead strips are used to join the fragments into mosaics of colour and light.

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Chagall’s window at the United Nations headquarters in New York was unveiled in 1964, when Chagall was 77 years old. It is 15 x 12 feet.

photographed by Steven Pinker at http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu/photos/New_York/pages/Chagall%20stained-glass%20window%20UN.htm

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UN Headquarters photographed by Gryffindor and displayed at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:UN_HQ_157652121_5b5979da9e2.jpg under a  CC
Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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nephtali window by chagall

There are Chagall windows everywhere. These are from the medical center of Hadassah university. They represent the prophecy Jacob made on each of his sons.

Chagall received technical help from Charles Marq, who, according to the IHT, runs one of Europe’s most venerated glassworks. Above is Nephtali. Below are Issachar and the preparatory painting for Simeon. The poetry is from the Bible.

issachar ….

“Issachar is a strong-boned ass
crouching between the saddlebags.
When he saw security,
and how pleasant was the country,
he bent his shoulder to the burden.”

And there is Levy both as a window and a reproduction for sale at Ebay:

“Simeon and Levi are a pair;
Their weapons are tools of lawlessness …
Cursed be their anger so fierce,
And their wrath so relentless.”

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>>>>> The photos are by Templar 1307 under a CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license at http://www.flickr.com/photos/healinglight/

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There is another famous series called The America Windows at the Chicago Art Institute:

To see the larger photo go to http://kunaufamily.org/wp-content/uploads/2006/12/Chagall-America%20Windows.jpeg

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Biography

Chagall was born in Vitebsk, in Russia. It was a ghetto, and there were 10 children. His father was a herring merchant.

By 1930 Chagall was working in France and was known all over the world, so Goebbels set fire to some of his paintings. Germany invaded France, and an American friend helped Chagall and his wife escape through Spain to the United States.

The picture, a fragment, represents King David as the composer of many of the songs that are in the Bible.

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Yury_Pen_-_Portrait_of_Marc_Chagall

Because he grew up in Russia, but lived in Paris, had to flee to the United States and came back to Europe later, Wikipedia has  Chagall’s name written in various alphabets  :

Hebrew : מאַרק שאַגאַל‎

Belarussian : Мойша Захаравіч Шагалаў

Russian : Марк Захарович Шага́л .

The portrait  is by Chagall’s teacher Yuri Pen.

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The Mosaics

Mosaics are made of pebbles or of small pieces of glass, ceramic, marble, mirror, shells, or china. The little construction units are called “tesserae”.

You could make your own mosaics, and there are online shops that supply all the pretty stones and instructions : http://www.thecraftkit.com/

Below are two  small files  of the East Panorama, full view :

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and of the West Panorama, full view :.

west panorama chagall chicago

To see them as 1.3 mega files click here http://www.cirrusimage.com/chicago_chagall.htm

The mosaics were commissioned by Bank One in Chicago,  now known as the Chase Tower. They were made of little stones and glass fragments  and represent the four seasons : everybody is out in the streets to receive spring.

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To see a large version go to http://mosaicgeek.com/mosaic-geek-blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/chagall-mosaic-chicago-1024×486.jpg

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The Paintings

But basically Chagall is famous — and controversial –  as a painter.

“But one day, in grade school, I saw one of my classmates drawing and copying a magazine illustration. [....] As I watched him draw, I was completely spellbound. To me, this experience was like a vision, a true revelation in black and white. [...] ‘All you need to do is to take a book out of the public library and then try your luck at copying one of the illustrations out of it, as I am doing right now.’

“And that is how [....] I became an artist.”

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A word about

Chagall’s ubiquitous chicken, donkey, violin, etc.

Some people think he is repetitive in his subjects. But the chicken and the donkey, the violin and the little huts are not Chagall’s subjects at all !

They are like the letters of an alphabet. These too are always the same, between twenty-four and thirty, to create innumerable languages and meanings.

Or consider the ingredients of some haute cuisine : those are the same for an endless variety of dishes, don’t you know?

Or the ingredients of mice and men : the same all over with the most different outcomes. See?

The Madonna of the Village at the Thyssen museum, Madrid, Spain. They let you see a mega version at http://www.museothyssen.org/thyssen/zoom_obra/447

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They were in a small workers’ restaurant in Paris. One of the workers looked over at the muscular, paint-splotched hands of the man in the beret.

“Working on a place around here?” he asked companionably.

“Yeah,” replied Chagall, as he tucked into his appetizer of hard-boiled egg and mayonnaise. “I’m redoing a ceiling over at the Opéra.”

chagalloperaceiling.jpg

The pictures of the opera ceiling are at http://ronrothman.com/gallery/paris-200512/IMG_5489 and  at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PG142.jpg where the  copyright situation is disputed by the author  who seems to think that Chagall is also Picasso.

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Picasso about Chagall : “I don’t know where he gets those images. He must have an angel in his head.”

Chagall about Picasso : “What a genius, that Picasso ! It’s a pity he doesn’t paint”.

Chagall about himself :  “You see through yourself, as if from outside, and paint your inner life as if you were painting a still life.”

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The quotes  are from Baal-Teshuva’s Chagall book that contains  more than a hundred high quality (I know because I have the book :-) reproductions plus text written by Chagall himself:

Chagall retrospective

source.jpg

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Comments»

1. David - September 29, 2008

Thanks for this lovely post cantueso. I had no idea that Chagall had done so many stained glass windows. How wonderful that he created the window at the UN at such an advanced age.

2. stainedglassmosaic - August 6, 2009

Great article on stained glass mosaics, very interesting


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