A Year of Creating Dangerously, Day 12: Chagall, the Real Asher Lev

self-portrait-with-seven-digits-autoportrait-1913

Self-Portrait with Seven Digits, 1912-13

Artists inspire artists, art begets art.

As I continue to consider a crucial novel to my own artistic journey, “My Name is Asher Lev”, I was led to the real life artist that inspired, at least in part, the story by Chaim Potok. That artist was the Russian-French master Marc Chagall (1887-1985). Chagall was born and raised in modern day Belarus in a Hassidic community by devout parents. His gift was something so strange and unique to arise from his small-town, Jewish context. Chagall himself claims he didn’t even know what drawing was until he enrolled in a non-Jewish school.

The expression of his incredible gift was equal parts faith-inspired and  avant-garde. His use of color and dreamlike images influenced countless other artists, especially those of the Surrealistic movement. He and Pablo Picasso are considered by many to be the greatest painters of the Twentieth century. Picasso himself said, “When Henri Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what color really is.” His use of crucifixion imagery in telling Jewish stories was revolutionary and directly influenced Potok’s story.

Below is a small gallery of some of my favorite Chagall paintings. See if you are observant enough to notice which painting inspired the musical “A Fiddler on the Roof” 😉

chagall-white-crucifixion-1938

White Crucifixion, 1938

 

chagall-the-praying-jew

The Praying Jew, 1915

chagall-the-blue-circus

The Blue Circus, 1950

chagall-i-and-the-village

I and the Village, 1911

chagall-the-lovers

The Lovers, 1913-14

chagall-solitude

Solitude, 1933

chagall-the-fiddler

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