Marc Chagall (French, born Russia — present-day Belarus; 1887-1985): Over the Town, 1918. Oil on canvas, 45 x 56 cm. The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.
‘In his painting Over the City, Chagal and his wife Bella appear to be flying over Vitebsk while leaving in the space of Earth’s gravity the little houses sinking to one side. The principle theme of Chagal’s work is “the time of man.” He understood this to mean “man and his recollections, his reflections as something at the same time both existing and visible. It is a single being. And I portray it.” Therefore, the place allotted to any of the personages does not need to follow any laws of logic or physics and the figurative world loses its self-sufficiency and becomes only a pretext for expressing experiences. His ability to combine the lofty with the ordinary was one of the specific qualities of Chagal’s art. Even when depicting two lovers hovering over the city and daily life, the artist does not forget about details. Bella’s slippers, the lace of her dress, the very prosaic scene from life – all of this does not detract from the sense of the flight of these souls in love.’ (© The State Tretyakov Gallery)