Marc Chagall - The Poet - 1911 - 197 x 146 cm - 78 x 57 in - oil on canvas
To continue let’s go to the bottle and how it is supported by a rhythm of parallels. From left to right we have the poet’s right leg, his forearms, a line on his chest, the edge of a red triangle, a small gray rectangle, a small red triangle, and the curtain. There are a couple other subtle ones as well.
Another series of parallels which is very closely related, are his left leg and the small spatial angle beside it. The rhythm continues with a very subtle plane in the grayish area, then the edge of the red table, which integrates with blue on his forearm. Please note the horizontal integrating his arm to the table. Chagall’s compositional assessments are very sophisticated and most impressive.
Note how his inverted the head is integrated with the background. There is an edge which connects to the chin and then runs to the right into the curtain. Can you feel how it supports the head?
We could say the composition has a triangle motif supported by ovals, circles and rectangles. Take the hand holding the glass. It is a partial oval, and harmonizes with the head and other ovals above.
My last observation. Note how the cat is in space. I say this because of the spatial plane, or the background overlapping the cat. Do you feel it?
I could go on. Chagall is wonderful!
Marc Chagall - The Poet - 1911 - 196 x 145 cm - 77 x 57 in - oil on canvas
What an impressive painting!
Only Chagall could convey the delightfully frustrating tussle of the creative process and take spatial considerations to a higher level.
There is much to enjoy this painting. I think I should limit myself to a vertical integration and some wonderfully placed spatial planes.
The vertical integration begins at the top with a short blue line. Your eye then connects to another line above the shoulder. You then continue through the figure. You also can connect the verticals above the shoulder to a vertical at the bottom. Chagall offers you choices.
Now to the planes, and I will focus on the area near the hand with the glass. Do you see a small rectangle just to the left of the glass. Can you feel it being in front?
The other plane is just below his hand, actually it overlaps the hand. I hope you can sense different levels. Note also how the cup integrates or connects with the plane.
There is a lot going on in a Chagall painting, and I will continue in the next posting.
Marc Chagall - The Fiddler - 1911 - 95 x 69 cm - 37 x 27 in - oil on canvas
Chagall not only understood spatial planes, he masterfully shows us the playful side of this wonderful consideration.
Let’s begin with the line that creates the triangle at the top right. Do you feel the light blue and the red in front of the triangle? This is wonderful and sophisticated play.
There are also a couple of right angles creating other minor planes. One is at the chimney and the other is below, pointing at the fiddler’s head. I hope you can feel the planes they provide.
Now to the edge of the roof at the front of the house and how it is integrated with the above background shape at the top and to the fiddler’s coat. I love his coat. Chagall made the coat a rhythmic shape, rather than disrupting the composition with depiction. Very impressive!
Ask yourself why is the boy’s right leg white? His left leg is parallel and supporting the angle of the roof and fiddler’s coat.
I’ll finish with that little tree at the left and how it is harmony. There are more notes and I hope you enjoy discovering them.
Remember this is knowledge and poetry, not formula, and Chagall was a true master of twentieth century painting.