Marc Chagall’s colourful visions of revolution and folklore

Marc Chagall’s I and the Village, 1911 (Pic: © SCALA, Florence)

The Jewish State Chamber Theatre opened in Moscow five years into the Russian revolution. Its walls and ceiling were covered in huge paintings by Marc Chagall, who also designed many of its sets.

Exuberant figures from Jewish tradition and village life—the fiddler, a dancer, a wedding comedian—cavort across the geometric lines and curves associated with the art of the revolution.

Now they have been brought back together as the centrepiece of a new exhibition at the Tate Liverpool.

It focuses on the young Chagall’s artistic development from 1911 to 1922.

Chagall had lived in Paris, but returned to the Russian empire in 1914 and was trapped by the outbreak of the First World War. 

Paris was a crucible for artistic experimentation—such as the bright colours of Fauvism, an interest in African art, and of course Picasso’s Cubism. 

Chagall mixed these new techniques with

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