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Subject: Paintings as Avatars, Installment 12 (D'oh!) rss

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Gerald Cameron
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This weeks avatar is The Oak at Flagey (The Oak of Vercingetorix) by Marc Chagall.

Chagall, a Byelorussian born under the rule of the Russian czars, went on to become one of the premiere painters of the surrealist school, but The Oak at Flagey actually predates that, having been painted in 1864 (the surrealist movement was founded in 1917, and Chagall wasn't one of its founders). I just like the romantic, primal glory of nature feel of this one. It is, in many ways, a depiction of the Ur-Tree which is probably more familiar from Norse mythology in the form of Ygdrassil (although Joseph Campbell fans will know that world trees are a recurring image throughout human culture).

UPDATE: As MisterCranky has pointed out below, The Oak at Flagey was painted about 15 years before Marc Chagall was born, which would be a truly amazing feat. Unfortunately for M. Chagall's posterity, this is not quite the case. The Oak at Flagey is, in fact, the work of Gustave Courbet.

I honestly don't know how I made that screw up (aside from the fact that both artists names start with a C). Ah well, I never claimed to be perfect.

Next week, a REAL Chagall (I hope) to make up for this slight. I promise there will be floating people (or at least a floating person) next time, Ludocrazy.

I thought the Oak was a pretty radical departure from his later work.
 
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June King
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Chagall on Prozac
That's all well and good, but where's the violin-playing goat? Where are the people who defy gravity? Where are the giant swaths of cerulean blue?

I'll never forget seeing real Chagall's in person for the first time at the Guggenheim when I went there for my Modern Art History class in college. cool

 
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John O'Haver
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When I can say...
Hello Dali?
 
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The Steak Fairy
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You don't think he was one of the founding surrealists?
I think he was pretty friggin' surreal to paint a picture 23 years before his own birth!
 
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June King
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Yes, because to quote Notting Hill: Happiness isn't happiness without a violin-playing goat.
 
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