History of Art #25 – Chagall

A day off school because of Yom Kippur gave us time to continue our History of Art project.  Given the Jewish holiday, it was an apt coincidence that the next subject for study was Marc Chagall, an artist whose Jewish identify and culture featured prominently in his artwork.  We discussed Modernism and the way that Chagall adopted elements from earlier art movements and from folk culture.  We then looked at some of his most famous works, including The Village, Circus Horse, Fiddler on the Roof and Over the Town.

The boys were all unanimously inspired most by Fiddler on the Roof.  I can see why since it is such a strong image and also so quirky.  My 12 year old obviously produced a Minecraft homage with the fiddle replaced by a bow of a different kind; my 9 year old decided to take the fiddler from the shetl to skyscrapers which was an interesting idea; my 6 year old also opted for skyscrapers and drew one figure standing on the roof and one floating in the sky because he was also inspired by Over the Town; just as biggest brother is obsessed with Minecraft, so his little brothers are obsessed with superheroes and comic books and so my 8 year old produced a version of Fiddler on the Roof that in no way resembled the Chagall original as he mashed it up with the old 1960s Batman show where Batman and Robin would scale the side of a building and a guest star would lean out of the window.

25 - Chagall - AB

25 - Chagall - O

25 - Chagall - AR

25 - Chagall - E

I made a few leaps with my Chagall inspired art journal page too.  I was inspired by the dreamscape quality of many of Chagall’s paintings so I decided to draw a recurring dream I have had since early childhood.  The dream context has varied over the decades but essentially it involves being chased by a Tyrannosaurus Rex.  When I was wee, it was definitely a nightmare.  I would dream of a T-Rex chasing me around the school playground, almost catching me, sometimes munching other children but never quite managing to catch me.  As I got older, however, the T-Rex just became a nuisance.  I would be dreaming of something else entirely and then he would show up and disrupt my dream.  His behaviour calmed over the years too, behaving more like an excited dog than a ferocious reptile.  These days when he randomly appears in my dreams I just think to myself, “Not you again”. It’s that latter thought that is the basis for my journal page, me looking up at the dinosaur with resigned frustration.  It’s just an ink line drawing as that is all I had time for but I may add colour to it at some stage.

25 - Chagall - Laura's Recurring Dream

You can see my Chagall Bunny over on my art blog.


12 thoughts on “History of Art #25 – Chagall

    • Thanks. I think the T-Rex and I are at an understanding now after over 35 years of dream stalking. My drawing looks like I’m ready to put him on the naughty step.

      My 12 year old’s version of Fiddler on the Roof most closely follows the original. The others went on complete flights of fancy.

  1. What a brilliant project for your boys! And well done on the creativity aspect. I think I should have done better when my own little ones were LITTLE… but alas, such was not the case. But they both learned to crochet. Maybe that’s something. Send your dinosaur this way. I’m sure I could bore him into total inaction….

    • That’s great that you taught them to crochet. My Gran was an incredible knitter, including in Fair Isle style, and my Grandad could embroider. However, I never managed to learn either skill. I wish I had had more patience to learn, more determination. I’m sure we are all creative in some way. My boys and I just happen to like drawing.

      • Well, my darling daughter did well in art (my dad is a proper artist!) – I am good at drawing – very good, if I may say – but music always trumped that pursuit. Daughter now makes amazing cakes for a living – which calls for artistry. Dutiful Son was rubbish with fine motor skills, but enter the computer keyboard, and he was well away. Has done graphic design and now works at Apple as a php programmer. Creativity has many faces, thank goodness! As for knitting, I am an able if un-artistic knitter. But give me a crochet hook and a few balls of wool? I’m on it!! BTW – I LOVE Chagall!

      • So you and all of your offspring are not only creative but talented in diverse fields which is fantastic. It’s going to be interesting to see where my kids end up with their interests and strengths.

        Chagall is an artist I only “got” once I was an adult. I didn’t understand his work at at all when I was younger for some reason. I love the way his work is rooted in his cultural context and the dream quality of his work.

      • Thank you – I am immnsely proud of our kids, as I know you are of your own! 😉 Ah, the vicarious pleasure of referred accomplishment! Pahaha!
        Chagall is a firm favourite of mine. Also Dali, for completely different reasons.

  2. Glad that all the boys participated on this project. I think they had fun most especially your 8 yr old with his Batman show theme. I love how you went outside of the box with Chagall’s paintings and went for the nature of how he did his works.

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