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A major exhibition in Mantua celebrates Marc Chagall

By FEDERICA LUSIARDI - September 4, 2018

Marc Chagall The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk painting

From September 5, 2018, through February 3, 2019, a major retrospective exhibition on Marc Chagall takes place in Mantua, northern Italy.

Installed in the medieval Palazzo della Ragione,  in the city’s historical heart, the exhibition presents 130 works by the Russian-French artist (1887, Vitebsk – 1985, Saint-Paul-de-Vence) including paintings, etchings, and drawings.
The Mantua exhibition, which is the first of a cycle focused on 20th-century art, is curated by Gabriella Di Milia in collaboration with Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery and organized by Electa.

Cover image: Marc Chagall, The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, 1914/1918, oil on canvas, 139 x 197 cm; © The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia © Chagall ®, by SIAE 2018

Palazzo della Ragione Piazza Erbe Mantova

The Palazzo della Ragione in Mantua, the venue of the Chagall exhibition

The centerpiece of the exhibition is the famous mural cycle Chagall created in 1920 for the Moscow State Jewish Chamber Theater.
Rarely exhibited outside Russia, the cycle consists of seven large-scale paintings which represent a key point of the artist’s career. Made just three years after the Russian Revolution and during a difficult period for Chagall, both financially and personally, the painting cycle represent various subjects and symbols related to the Jewish theater, and to Yiddish culture – including  dancers, fiddlers, acrobats, and farm animals – in an ensemble which combines the typical dreamy figurative style of Chagall with elements of Cubism and Suprematism into a monumentally colorful depiction of life.
For the Moscow Jewish Theater, along with the murals, Chagall also created the curtain decoration, costumes, and the set designs for three theatrical shows; in Mantua, the seven painting are arranged to mirror the original layout in Moscow.

Marc Chagall Moscow Jewish Theater painting 2

Marc Chagall Moscow Jewish Theater painting 1

Two of the paintings made by Chagall for the Jewish Chamber Theater in Moscow on view in Mantua; top: Introduction to the Jewish Theater, 1920, watercolor on canvas, 284 x 787 cm; bottom:  Love on Stage, 1920, watercolor on canvas, 283 x 248 cm. Images © The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia © Chagall ®, by SIAE 2018

Other works on view include some masterpieces, such as the world-known The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk (1918) which depicts Chagall and his wife Bella flying over the Russian landscape while, symbolically, escaping the uncertainty of their condition of Russian Jews in a period of troubled political and social change of their country.

Marc Chagall, Come nella pittura così nella poesia
September 5, 2018 – February 3, 2019
Open daily, except Mondays
Palazzo della Ragione
Piazza Erbe, Mantua, Italy
www.chagallmantova.it

All images are courtesy of Mondadori / Electa


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