Born to a Hasidic Jewish family in Vitebsk, visual artist Marc Chagall lived in a city located near to the border of Russia, in what is now known as Belarus. Home to a large Jewish population, his childhood’s experience of folkloric traditions profoundly affected his artistic career in his later life.
In 1906, Chagall left Vitebsk for St. Petersburg to study in the prestigious art school, where he met Bella Rosenfeld, and then later to Paris in order to pursue his artistic ambitions. The city, however, retained a strong hold on his imagination and emotions. Many of his paintings of Vitebsk were actually painted during his Paris years from 1910 to 1914. As he wrote in his autobiography, ‘The soil that nourished the roots of my art was Vitebsk’. He visited often as his fiancée Bella remained there which helped to intensify the romantic feelings and longing he held for the city.
Vitebsk, to him, was a uniquely whimsical vision, stating that ‘My homeland exists only in my soul’. He represented the city in a dreamlike, magical state, in which figures float through the air and fantastical human and animal hybrids dance across the canvas. He drew inspiration from his knowledge of Jewish motifs and his contemporary exposure to the Fauvism and Cubism that was spreading through the Parisian art world.
In 1914, he returned to Vitebsk intending to marry Bella and take her back to Paris with him. The advent of the First World War stopped him in his tracks when the Russian borders were closed, but his increasing art-world success gradually won him fame and financial security in his own country. After the October Revolution of 1917, Chagall was awarded the position of ‘Commissar of the Arts for Vitebsk’. The Mandate declared ‘Comrade Chagall has the right to organise art schools, museums, exhibitions, course, and lectures on art and any other artistic enterprise anywhere within the city and the region of Vitebsk.’
He threw himself into the role, but the poor economy and widespread famine of post-war Russia prompted a move back to France. Chagall spent the rest of his life between America and France, but stood by the statement that, ‘I am a little Jew of Vitebsk. All that I paint, all that I do, all that I am, is just the little Jew of Vitebsk.’
Watch a short clip featuring Chagall’s Birthplace below:
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
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