Visual Analysis – Modernism

Artist: Marc Chagall
Title: The Green Donkey
Measures: 324 x 413 mm
Gallery: Tate
Date: 1911

Chagall was an artist known for his work within the Modernism movement, his work showing the exact qualities art within the Modernism movement held. In his work Chagall makes his images look flattened and does it in an effective way. Every part of the image has been brought to the front and seems to be all on one level and layer. This makes the painting very eye catching and creative, a technique never understood or appreciated before Modernism. Modernism was all about rejecting the idea of realism and this painting easily shows this. The point of making the donkey an absurd and unrealistic colour of green is just one major point Chagall has made within this piece to reject realism and show his link to Modernism. The way that he has used very brash, bold and bright colours to complete this piece creates the idea of the image being very busy and hectic, yet the way that Chagall has made each part of the image work on the same level portrays the idea of the image being flat and not as hectic as once seen. The use of the blue as the grass and ground in this painting is very important in my opinion. The sky, traditionally painted blue, is dull and grey whereas the ground has somewhat stolen the colour from the sky and made the picture odd and obscure. However then you see that the donkey has stolen the bright green colour of which the ground is normally shown to be and then you realize that all the colours have been switched around. The sky is the colour the donkey normally would be, the ground is the colour the sky would be and the donkey is the colour the ground would traditionally be. the reason that Chagall has done this is to show his rejection of realism in his own way through the art movement of Modernism. The lines used are precise yet still seem slightly rough, I think that Chagall did this to show that he isn’t like other painters who paint everything softly and using thin delicate lines, he wants his paintings to stand out yet still be known for his precision and passion for art and for Modernism.


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