28 June 2011

We Float Like Two Lovers In A Painting By Chagall

I spent the whole morning looking at Chagall paintings online while listening to The Weepies’ Painting By Chagall. What can I say, it was a very Chagall-y morning. And by this I guess it need not be said that I am and has always been, a fan.

The first Chagall painting I ever laid eyes upon was La Mariee. I was 9, and it was actually through the film Notting Hill (a classic favorite of mine) that I knew him. I guess there really is something special about him, about how does his craft. I was so young, and had no idea who he was, yet I was beguiled by his work just like the rest of the world was.

I mentioned before that I used to paint as a kid. I guess it was inevitable because when I was little, every afternoon my mom and I watched this show where a guy just paints in front of a still camera. I remember the plain black background that is his set, and nothing else more but an empty canvas, his things and himself. I loved that show. And yes, that’s what inspired me to paint as well.

Going back to Chagall, I fell completely in love with La Mariee, the first time I saw it. And if I’ve shun all my shyness away, maybe someday I’ll show you the painting I did when I was 9 that was inspired by it. (well the truth is I was trying to copy it hehe)

So far Marc Chagall is the only painter whose work actually moves me. They say a fine piece of art is supposed to do that to you—move you, sometimes even to the verge of tears. Well, he does that to me. I‘ve only seen his works over the internet, so I can only imagine how I’d bawl if I actually, finally, get to see them in real life! Before I die, I have to, REALLY HAVE TO see some of his original works, especially his stained glass work at the All Saints Church in Tudeley, England. This one is the most special for me because of the story of why and who the glass work was dedicated for. Same goes to the one in the United Nations Headquarter in New York, where the glass work  is dedicated to some UN workers who died in a plane crash. Apparently the notes in the blue sky background apparently stands for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, a favorite of the UN official who died in the crash. Music and art--isn’t that just hauntingly beautiful?

Chagall's trademark, what separates his work from the others, is that it's whimsical and sometimes even child-like. I love the way his paintings make you feel like you’re in a dream—and a sweet one at that. Yes that’s it, his paintings are melancholic but in a sweet way. Also passionate, but innocent. And I think the reason I like them is because if Chagall was a novelist, he would be in my shelf together with Murakami, Winterson and Gaiman. How these books speak is the same way his paintings do. For me, they all speak the same beautiful, melancholic language that we're all secretly so familiar with.


Anyway, out of all his paintings, these here are my favorite:

The Concert

Blue Lovers

La Mariee

Lovers in the Red Sky

They say that we are all meant for something. Well, some people get really lucky with theirs.

"Anna Scott: I can't believe you have that picture on your wall.  
William: You like Chagall? 
Anna Scott: I do. It feels like how being in love should be. Floating through a dark blue sky. 
William: With a goat playing the violin. 
Anna Scott: Yes - happiness isn't happiness without a violin-playing goat."
- Notting Hill (1999) 

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