My sister recently gave me a postcard of Chagall’s wedding couple in front of the Eiffel tower. Marriage is a theme he returned to often. The painting above is poetic, ethereal and sweetly romantic, yet an air of haunting mystery hangs over it. Why do the couple appear to float? Why is the painting so blue? Are they on earth, or in the heavens? Or is the visionary, dream-like state intended to illustrate the couple’s bliss? Most probably these images are symbolic of the great love Chagall had for his wife, Bella.
The Russian-French Jewish painter (1887-1985) lived an extraordinary life – truly overcoming all adversity. He grew up without art, to the extent that it was an alien concept to him until he saw a friend drawing. Life for Jews in Russia at this time was terrible, the community suffered from organised pogroms and humiliating segregation – even requiring internal passports to enter the larger Russian cities. I feel that this outer-struggle is one reason why, in his art, Chagall turns his eye inwards, to the spirit,to introspection, to symbolism, and to idealism.
Monet’s beautiful blue or purple painting of a lily pond was one of the highlights for me when visiting the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. The vivid colours are mesmerising – one could stand an stare at it for hours.
This painting of an eccentric entymologist’s dream by the great Edmund Dulac, conjures up mixed feelings of amusement and of sadness.
Set against the rich blue of the night sky, the moon illuminates the white blossoms on the trees, and the two herons on the hill. A sense of stillness and peace pervades this exquisite Chinese composition.
This painting is by the contemporary Moroccan artist, André Elbaz (b.1934). Here we are treated to the bright colours of North Africa.
Another wonderful Matisse!
An atmospheric, beautiful, Picasso painting from his blue period.
For no apparent reason I am drawn to the childlike, surrealist paintings of Joan Miro. There is something liberating about the seeming lack of logic and vagueness of subject matter in Miro’s works.
Van Gogh’s Starry Night resonates with spiritual symbolism, and touches deep the heart of man. The influence of Japanese art upon Van Gogh can be witnessed in this powerful painting.