Marc Chagall. The fables

December 16, 2017 – April 15, 2018

Casamassima, Palazzo Monacelle

Gioia del Colle, Palazzo San Domenico (town hall)

Marc Chagall. The fables

Marc Chagall’s fifty etchings look to show the universal language of the fable through an extraordinary story in pictures. Men and animals come together, transfigured, and become part of "his total lyrical explosion". Chagall once again manages to amaze us, creating suggestions and helping us discover the world through the eyes of a child.

The Fables of La Fontaine come to life in the imagination of the great artist Marc Chagall using an etching technique and thus springing our imagination in a fantastic and astounding world. The Apulian towns of Gioia del Colle and Casamassima will host the exhibit “Marc Chagall. The Fables”, as part of a project called “Works out of context”. The show is curated by Società Sistema Museo, managing the SAC Ecomuseo - Peucetia, with patronage from the Metropolitan City of Bari. The exhibit is open from December 16, 2017 to April 15, 2018 at Palazzo Monacelle in Casamassima and Palazzo San Domenico in Gioia del Colle, with a single ticket for both venues.

The originality of Chagall's art and its fantastic dynamism, which reveals all the inner world of "eternal child", also pervades his graphic production. Chagall began working on the illustration for La Fontaine’s Fables in 1927 on Ambroise Vollard’s commission. In his fifty etchings on display at Gioia del Colle and Casamassima Chagall loves emphasising the mythological and universal aspects of the fable, with each of the characters appearing on the page in its full complexity; the figures seem to stand out on the page apparently dominating it in the same way as the Hebrew script, where the sense of the page appears especially clear, and the Russian icons from Chagall’s earlier memories of his childhood and youth.

The graphic work on the Fables of La Fontaine illustrates the major themes of life that Chagall was drawn to in his works: love, death and human folly; diametrically opposed themes that meet and clash as if in a Petrarchan oxymoron. Thus the arrogance of the wolf contrasts with the mildness of the stork as it saves the wolf’s life, expressing gratitude and ingratitude, life and death. Those objects and figures like the lattices and the grains of black dust seem to come out of his fantasy world, attacking the spectator, absorbing and dragging him away.

The strong connection between man and nature is clearly demonstrated by the artist through the "Luftmenschen", human figures hovering in the air.

The exhibit “Marc Chagall. The Fables” is part of the project "Works out of context" within the SAC of “Ecomuseo di Peucetia” which aims to enhance the territory, its cultural and landscape heritage. 




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