Marc Chagall was one of eight children from the Jewish town of Vitebsk in Russia. Marc's mum ran a grocery shop and his dad carried fish around for a living while little Marc just mooched about the local neighbourhood checking out the amazing floating violinist, green donkeys and levitating lovers, all of whom he would recall years later and commit to canvas for all the world to enjoy.
Amazingly enough, because there was a religious ban on the creation of representative images in his Jewish home community, Marc never actually clapped eyes on a painting or a drawing until he was thirteen. This momentous and life-altering event took place when he began attending the local Russian 'big' school and saw a boy engaged in that bizarre and seditious activity known as 'drawing' and instantly thought 'I wouldn't mind having a go at that' (or thoughts to that effect), and with that he was up and at it like a blue cat off a luminous, hot tin roof.
Not long afterwards he flitted to Paris but during a short trip home the First World War broke out, trapping him in what was to become the New Soviet Union, so he ended up getting made Commissar for Arts in Vitebsk (the way one does). In 1923, ever his own man, and thoroughly disillusioned with the artistic and political dogma of the Bolsheviks he returned to France. In 1941 politics and war wrong-footed him again and along with his family he was arrested, only escaping being whisked off to the concentration camps because of the intervention of the American Consul General. He remained in the USA until the outbreak of peace then returned to the South of France where he continued to paint until the day his art stopped.
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