The Blue Of Marc Chagall



For me a stained glass window is a transparent partition between my heart and the heart of the world

Marc Chagall (1887-1985)

Chagall was one of life’s shining stars. According to Wikipedia he is described by art critic Robert Hughes as a ‘quintessential Jewish artist’. Yet such a description is truly too confining for a creator who saw his work as ‘not a dream of one people, but of all humanity.’ To me, an unbeliever, his work speaks of spirit – the soaring, transcending best of us that comes with a wry but kindly smile and, above all, forgiveness (for ourselves and for others).

The stained glass in the photo comes from a window in the auditorium at the Musee National Marc Chagall on Cimiez Hill in Nice, one of the loveliest little art galleries of the world. The hill, too, is surely a place of creative hallowed ground: just up the road from Chagall is the wonderful Matisse museum. Both artists were magician-shamans, masters of colour, form and light – their works the manifestation of their spirit-journeys that ever invite us to rise to the occasion and follow.

Chagall was still working in his nineties, his last commissioned work (I’ve just discovered) is the north stained glass window of Chichester Cathedral in Sussex, England. I feel a pilgrimage coming on. In the meantime another detail of the Nice window:


When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what colour really is.

Pablo Picasso

July Squares #2

36 thoughts on “The Blue Of Marc Chagall

  1. Wow, I’d NOT know about the window in Chichester cathedral, Tish….I, too need to visit. Perhaps we should make it a joint venture?!

  2. what a divine post Tish! ‘Magician shaman’ indeed – thanks for introducing me to Chagall as stained glass artist – I have only ever seem his paintings. Talking of Pilgrimages – there is also his stained glass at Tudeley in Kent (a search has revealed)
    “Will God or someone give me the power to breathe my sigh into my canvases, the sigh of prayer and sadness, the prayer of salvation, of rebirth?’– Marc Chagall”

    p.s. and further to Pilgrimages did you know of The British Pilgrimage Trust? . Some interesting routes there

    1. That’s a very wonderful Chagall quote, Laura. And many thanks for the link. It looks very beguiling – pathways for body and spirit; or simply for dreaming.

  3. Matisse also knew the magic of stained glass. The church in Vence, France (not far from Nice), has Matisse’s tribute to the nuns who took care of him. Chagall’s work has that essence and influence of the light as represented in stain glass.

  4. I got to see an exhibition of his stained glass windows at New York Museum of Modern Art before they were installed in (I think) Jerusalem’s museum. They were amazing especially with sunlight behind them.

  5. Lovely post Tish. I didn’t know of Chagall’s stained glass work — I’ve now searched on that and am enjoying even more beautiful images. Thank you.

  6. Ooh, take me with you, Tish! I’ve never been to Chichester 🙂 🙂 His work is so beautiful. I’m sure I can rely on you to bring some blues back with you.

  7. That blue is so intense and how could their be a prettier colour that this…Chagall knew this I think. Love this quote from him, he sounds like a fascinating guy!

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