It’s my birthday today! I tried to find an artist born on the same day to have an interesting post but having had a quick look on the internet this morning, I only came up with the singer Shaggy. Not a good fit. Instead, I will post a picture of Birthday, by Chagall. Chagall is one of my favourite painters and Birthday is my favourite Chagall painting despite having never seen it in person. It’s at MOMA but not often on view. A large print takes pride of place overlooking my living room.
Chagall’s love for his wife Bella is frequently on display in his art. Even during wartime, Bella triumphed. In Birthday, Chagall steals a kiss from Bella while she carries a bouquet of flowers, perhaps to put them in a vase. Chagall floats above her in a demonstration of their bliss; a tender moment in the intimacy of their home.
If I had to categorise Chagall, he would be closest to surrealism, based on his automatic drawing and dream-related paintings. He refused to be associated with surrealism though and I understand why when watching his works. He is the only one who doesn’t care about perspective, painting again and again his favourite themes: Bella, the married couple, flying figures, his native city Vitebsk, the Jewish tradition, the Bible, sheep and roasters, and flower bouquets.