Chagall’s Apocalypse in Lilac, Capriccio Essay
Chagall’s Apocalypse in Lilac, Capriccio
This painting was done by Marc Chagall, a Russian artist. It is a painting of Christ shouting at a Nazi soldier while also witnessing other forms of violence from his view. While He is being crucified, others were hanged, stabbed and crucified like him while an inverted clock falls from the sky. It was a response in the increasing number of casualties from the Holocaust. It was his tribute to the Jewish community. His art pieces, upon reaching the shores of Germany were prohibited by the Nazis by the order of Adolf Hitler himself, just like what happened to other modernist art pieces.
(Chipp, 1968) The color scheme is black and white; it means that the artist conveys in the art piece that it is a grim incident which he wanted to record before he passes on. A set of symbols from different elements have been depicted in the art piece. First is the crucifixion of Christ, most of us have acknowledged that Christ is the redeemer of mankind. But here, He was depicted as a powerless man only capable of screaming at a soldier to stop the violence. The next symbol in this art piece is the violence around Christ; it was like the people forgetting that a God or His son exists.
The violence goes on, while an inverted clock which spins in the other way, the last symbol, tells us that man is in reverse evolution at that time. We are slaughtering each other like animals for survival. Interpretation The location and the people centered on the art piece impacts me in a way that any other artworks with similar themes do. This is a humanist approach to telling people that “peace is in our hands. ” I could say that after Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People, the next piece a person would want to see is this artwork by Chagall.
Comparing the two, the former is looking forward to progress, while the latter is looking forward to a series of regression, symbolized by the inverted clock in the sky. War became the motivation of Chagall in order to create this work. There are many artists who have been affected by war, Chagall was one example. It gave them an intense emotion, an intense desire to break free. Like in war, natural calamities also give artists a certain feeling of sadness. One example of this was Edvard Munch and his work The Scream, which he created during the time when the Krakatoa volcano erupted and claimed many lives.
Chagall has been very open about his perspective on the war that is going on in Germany, how the Nazis seized the political power from the Weimar republic, and how it oppressed the Jewish people. He has viewed the society under a time of war. This was his answer, to paint propaganda about how God feels seeing that the race of his likeness is slaying each other. Chagall was also known as a chronicler of biblical events. He was fond of using The Bible as a reference for his works. But in the Apocalypse, he blended real-life events and the ones that happened in the Bible. For art historians, the Apocalypse was a rare Chagall painting.
Through the symbols, I have interpreted it as propaganda against the Nazi rule on Germany. Others may interpret the artwork as a continuation of the peoples’ suffering in the time of Christ. Or putting it simply, Christ as the people is at its weakest and can do nothing to stop the violence around him. Though we may have different interpretations on Chagall’s painting, we all share a common view that the people depicted in the painting is suffering. In addition, with the inverted clock may be interpreted by others as a person peeking through history, or the past. It tells the person or the clock that “this is us in this time of day”.
At exactly the same time and the same date, this is what is going on. Social Judgment I believe that moving the art in another setting would be just the same. But there are certain elements that can be replaced like the Nazis; it can be replaced with soldiers who have invaded powerless, poor countries. The violence can be replaced with soldiers who are torturing and killing innocent people who fought for the freedom of their country. These people who they claimed to be smaller than the invasive soldiers have been fighting a war for freedom with and without the use of weapons.
Many times the weak and the small were not heard by the powerful. Many times the human rights have been violated. Many people are suffering today with their own wars, combating hunger, homelessness, ignorance and many other deficiencies due to the rights that were withheld from them. Today, the London Jewish Museum bought the painting for $43,000. It was exhibited in the museum in remembrance of the Jews who were killed, persecuted, tortured and subjected to forced labor by the Nazis. The painting fits the The last question is if I like this work. Yes, I do. I give the highest form of adoration in the work.
It is because rare are the times that artists have a nationalist or humanist emotion when it comes to painting their work. Chagall belongs to the line of artists who believe that peace can still be achieved. Rare are the artists who used their skills not for commercial purposes, but rather to express what they feel in the current situation of their world. Rare are the chances that a person would see an artist concerned not only about his country but also for the countries of his brothers, especially in these times. Chagall was more than intelligent; he was proven a genius with the creation of his masterpiece. Conclusion
Many scholars believe that art does not exist for its own sake. Rather, art has political, ethical, social values. Aesthetics is only a bonus. For a painting like the Apocalypse in Lilac, this also holds true. As long as there are human beings struggling for power, there will always be politics. Chagall was an artist concerned about the welfare of his European brothers. He was a humanist. Seeing the war through his eyes, he got inspired. He gathered his brushes and gave the first few strokes on his work. He was fond of using Biblical figures. For him, Christ was the most fitting of them all, for He is the people.
Anyone who betrays the people betrays Him. It was a powerful symbol to convey. The artwork was a critique of the war, its illogic and its costs to the people. He also described the rule of Hitler through the painting, being ungodly and grim to the people who are part of his country. The innocent, being pained by the nooses of death and knives of the soldiers are his descriptions of Hitler’s approach to leadership. Because of this, Hitler banned Chagall and so are other modern artists who conveyed their feelings about Nazi Germany and the people who are not fraternal with the Jews they have forced into labor.
Moving the setting of the painting, say in contemporary times, it would be just the same. It won’t change everything because this is exactly how the people feel when they are working under large corporations, when they are giving their maximum output while only earning their minimum wage. Hitler may be gone, but the repercussions that his spiritual successors have done still echo and can still be felt by the people. I recommend a viewing of Chagall’s work, which is timeless because we can still relate to it, we are living in a society like these, and the only difference is that the hierarchy has legal bases for their existence.
Liking the painting is not enough like I’ve said. It is recommended to view it again and again and compare our societies with the one depicted in the art. This is to have a clear view of what we are and what we are to expect in the future. References: Chagall, M. , & Owen, P. (2003). My Life. Cambridge, Masachussetts: Da Capo Press. Chipp, H. B. (1968). Theories of Modern Art: A Source Book by Artists and Critics. Los Angeles, California: University of California Press. Hopkins, D. (2000). After Modern Art: 1945-2000. New York, New York: Oxford University Press.