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One of the greatest representatives of Cubism, who also influenced Surrealism movement, Marc Chagall was born in Russian town Vitebsk on July 7, 1887. His real name was Moishe Shagal and he was one of the ten kids in poor Jewish family. His father Zakhar Chagall was a fish factory worker, while mother Ida Chagall ran a grocery store. The early years, spent by him in his village with his family became the main motive of his works. He painted a great amount of works from memory of his impressions of the people and ambiance of the village he grew up in.
Chagall started his education with a teacher who was a friend of the family and continued his studies in the town school. However, he was only interested in geometry and did not like other subjects. After becoming an apprentice to a local photographer, he understood that the craft he initially admired wasn’t for him, so he convinced his parents to help him become a painter and pay for the art lessons. He started his artistic education learning from a painter in Vitebsk. When he reached the age of 20, in 1907, he enrolled into school of the Imperial Society for the Protection of the Arts in St. Petersburg and learned from eminent painter Leon Bakst. This period of his life was challenging for him financially as he was barely able to support himself, working as a servant and painting signs. Nevertheless, in Bakst workshop he found out about the new art movement, which was spreading like wild fire in Paris.
His teacher Bakst helped him move to Paris and learn more about the new movement, he was so enchanted with. In Paris, he made friends with Roger de La Fresnaye, Robert Delaunay, and Blaise Cendrars. In the following years, his works were accepted at such exhibitions as Salon des Indépendants as well as Salon d'Automne. Nevertheless, the world fame came to him only after his own exhibition, which took place in Herwarth Walden's Der Sturm Gallery in Berlin, Germany.
Chagall returned to Russia as a prominent painter and stayed there for the entire duration of WW I, as well as Russian Revolution. After the revolution, he was appointed the title of commissar of Art; however, he resigned after the disputes with other painters. In 1922 he left Russia never to return again, and went to Germany and then to Paris. Upon his return to Paris, he was commissioned to create illustrations for famous Nikolay Gogol's "Dead Souls".
During the following years Chagall travelled a lot in the US and Syria, where he saw firsthand the land, where the Biblical events that he painted have transpired. Chagall is considered one of the best interpreters of the Biblical subjects, second only to Rembrandt. His newly gained knowledge helped him in his work on stained-glass windows, which he accomplished in the US and Israel.
1948 was the year when he returned to France and started trying his hand on lithographs, which he called “Arabian Nights” as well as ceramic sculptures. The last decades of his life were marked by creation of the greatest art works. He managed to create masterpieces on stained glass for such prominent buildings as New York’s United Nations (UN). In 1973, an entire museum of his best works has opened in France, in Nice. Four years later, he was honored by the exhibition of his 97 paintings in Louvre, an extremely rare occurrence for a living painter. Chagall died on March 28, 1985 in Maritimes, France at the age of 97.
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