© ADAGP, Paris 2011 © cliché RMN Gérard Blot
Oil on canvas
238 x 176 cm
National Museum of Modern Art - Centre for Industrial Creation, Centre Georges Pompidou, on deposit at the Marc Chagall National Museum
La Danse, on the other hand, with its encompassing solar light, is the portrayal of a single pulsating instant, evoked by the interplay of two overlapping diagonals formed by the outlines of the red dancer and the green female figure. Colours are purposely strident and the sharply pointed shapes occupying the top of the picture – rays of light, the dancer’s horns and the leaves of the vegetable ornamentation around his head – accentuate the impression of violent dynamism.
On the top right is Chagall himself at his easel. The picture he is painting is of a Christ on the Cross, emphasising the sacred nature of the dance. He is clasping a red cockerel, symbol of vitality and creativity, which highlights the painter’s role. The ring of young girls at the very bottom of the painting further emphasises the sacred aspect and may well be an allusion to the dance performed by Moses’ sister Miriam to celebrate the exodus from Egypt.
Constructed on diagonals and the use of basic colours – blue, red, yellow and green – these two works contrast the mysterious nocturnal atmosphere of the one with the dynamic solar atmosphere of the other.
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