Flying horses – Musée national Marc Chagall

The large paintings of vivid colours cover the plain whiter walls. When you look closely, you can see a bird with a cow’s head and flying horses.

The name of Marc Chagall didn’t ring many bells in my head although I had heard of him before. However I wanted to visit the Musée national Marc Chagall in Nice. His style is very distinctive and I took liking to it instantly when I walked into the museum.

The permanent exhibition of 12 large paintings illustrating Genesis and Exodus is a religious one. His paintings for the Song of Songs have their own room. However, the religious messages are not obtruding and the pictures are truly artistic in their own merit even if you don’t know the stories linked to them.

I mean, I am not religious so I first thought I was looking at a painting of Prometheus giving fire to the people. Turns out it was Moses and the burning bush. Same same but different. But art is art and you can interpret it in any way you want right?

I don’t think there are mentions of flying cows and trapeze artists in the Hebrew Bible, but you can find them from the details in the paintings. It is the most fascinating thing about them.

Marc Chagall’s artistic style varied through his career, but the paintings in the main exhibition would fall under the term surrealism I suppose. Overall he had a very playful style.

Chagall was a jewish artist originally from what is now Belarus. However, he lived most of his life in France and enjoyed the views of Cotê d’Azur. He also lived in the United States during World War II while jews in many parts of Europe suffered from persecution. However, it is said he never bothered to learn English. Apparently he thought that learning French had been quite enough trouble already so it should suffice.

The small museum with a little garden sits on a little hill northeast from the train station. It is a short walk away from the city centre and much closer than the Matisse museum which is in the same direction. You don’t need very long there as there are only few rooms in the main exhibit and a few more in the changing exhibition.

Quick look

  • What: art museum
  • Where: Nice, France
  • Why: the details and colours are splendid
  • How much: 6-10 euros

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