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Oh God

1919
Marc Chagall, (French (born Vitebsk, Russian Empire), 1887–1985)
In September 1918, the Soviet Education Ministry appointed Marc Chagall as Commissar of Fine Art for Vitebsk, his home district in Belarus. Chagall founded a People’s Art College and museum to foster rebellious modern art in the spirit of the Russian Revolution’s political transformations. But he clashed with his colleagues at the school over the definition of revolutionary art, and in June 1920 he set out for Moscow and a fresh start. The motif of an inverted, airborne head went back almost a decade in Chagall’s work. He used it as an abstract pictorial form, and also as a cipher for a giddy, illogical psychological state. In Oh God, the rotated head may signify Chagall’s pain and disappointment at what was transpiring in Vitebsk. In the background, a column of white crosses rises over an onion dome and the titular phrase is written in Cyrillic script in the sky....

Object Details

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