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The Fall of the Angel

the-falling-angel

The Fall of the Angel, oil on canvas. 147,5 x 188,5 cm (58 × 74,2 in), Kunstmuseum Basel, deposit from private collection

Because of his origins, Marc Chagall intensely felt the problems of the Jewish community in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century, just as he intuitively experienced the problems that Russia, his native country, was going through with the First World War and the October Revolution.

Exiled in France in 1922, Chagall was disturbed by the serious and real threats looming over the Western world in the early 1930s. Along with Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró, he was one of the few painters who warned and denounced the dangers of those times.

His anguish is expressed, with strength and faith, in the choice of such revealing subjects as the Crucifixion or, in this case, the Fall of the Angel. In this important work, with its somber and foreboding palette, the angel, all dressed in red, swoops down on the village in a great whirlpool. There is a withered sun behind a dark veil, an animal with a violin from whose bow comes the score, a woman protecting her infant son, and a Jew with the tablets of the law: a disturbed world over which Christ on the cross watches.

A Christ who proclaims a message of hope. Complex composition, the tonalities already announce „the great play of color“ of which André Malraux, a good friend of Chagall and one of the few creators – in the literary field in his case – who, like our artist, realized that a great tidal wave of horror was going to flood Europe in the forties.

Written originally in Spanish by: Jean-Louis Prat

Sources

PRAT, Jean Louis (ed.) (2012) Chagall. Fundación Colección Thyssen Bornemisza, Madrid, pp. 182-183.

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the-falling-angel

The Fall of the Angel

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