Marc Chagall

Anche la mia Russia mi amerà (My Russia will love me too)

Marc Chagall, Il Matrimonio, 1918, Mosca, Tretyakov Gallery © Chagall ®, by SIAE 2019

Romantic and surreal: a Russian fairy tale

Flying donkeys, eccentric music and moving, boundless landscapes.

At Palazzo Roverella, we are ready to take you to a world of dreams and wonder, with the highly original poetic language of one of the best-loved artists of the twentieth century: Marc Chagall.

A fantastic world where anything can happen, inspired by Russia's visionary cultural tradition with its richness of images and legends.

Get ready to be amazed!

Fairy-tale images for the paintings of your dreams

Marc Chagall, Buongiorno Paris, 1939-42, Parigi, collezione privata © Chagall ®, by SIAE 2019
Opening times

The exhibition runs until March 14th, 2021.

Open every day:
Monday - Friday, 9.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday and holidays, 9.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m.

Anche la mia Russia mi amerà (My Russia will love me too)

For the first time in Italy, Palazzo Roverella is hosting an important exhibition dedicated to Marc Chagall, promoted by the Fondazione Cariparo foundation, the Municipality of Rovigo and Accademia dei Concordi academy. The exhibition focuses on the influence of the great Russian cultural tradition on the artist’s works.

The most important masterpieces from the museums of Moscow and St Petersburg, as well as a generous selection of works from the artist’s private collection, will be on display alongside a selection of icons which express the pinnacle of Russian spirituality, and lubki, the popular vignettes so common in Chagall's time.
Marc Chagall, Il Gallo, 1928, Madrid, Museo Museo Nazionale Thyssen-Bornemisza © Chagall ®, by SIAE 2019

Image and Tradition

The power that images – whether they be sacred or profane – hold in Russian culture is reflected in all of Chagall's work, both that from his time in Russia and from his long period of exile. Just like the artist's life, the exhibition is also divided into two parts which follow the evolution of his style: more realistic while he was still living in Russia, gradually more dreamlike during his exile, when the animals, houses, villages and flowers of his past continued to accompany him, filtered through his memory and reworked into a sort of poetic realism.
Marc Chagall, Pioggia, 1911, Mosca, Tretyakov Gallery © Chagall ®, by SIAE 2019

Chagall in Russia

Moishe Segal (this was his birth name, which became Chagall when transcribed into French) was born into a Jewish family in Liozna, near the city of Vitebsk, in modern-day Belarus, then part of the Russian Empire, on July 7th, 1887. On the same day, the village was attacked by Cossacks during a pogrom, and the synagogue was burned to the ground. It was an event which Chagall would frequently recall with the words I was born dead.

In order to support himself and pay for his studies in St Petersburg, in addition to painting shop signs, he began painting his first original works. He stayed in the city until 1910, although every so often he returned to his home town, where in 1909 he met the love of his life and future wife, Bella Rosenfeld.
Marc Chagall, Autoritratto davanti a casa, 1914, Parigi, collezione privata© Chagall ®, by SIAE 2019

Journey to Paris

In 1910, Chagall left Russia for Paris: I felt that if I stayed in Vitebsk any longer, I should be covered with hair and moss, he wrote in his autobiography. A year later, in La Ruche, he came into contact with the artistic community of the nearby quarter of Montparnasse, and made friends with Guillaume Apollinaire (who would define his work “supernatural”), Robert Delaunay, Fernand Léger and Blaise Candra’s, the poet who, from that point on, would name all his French works.

No academy could have given me all I discovered by getting my teeth into the exhibitions, the shop windows, and the museums of Paris, Chagall would later say; my art needed Paris as much as a tree needs water.
Marc Chagall, domenica, 1952, Parigi, Museo Nazionale di Arte Moderna © Chagall ®, by SIAE 2019

Return Home

In 1914 he returned to Vitebsk, and the outbreak of the First World War and then the Russian revolution kept him there for the next eight years.

It was an emotional eight-year period. In 1915 he married Bella Rosenfeld, and the next year their daughter Ida was born. He painted such famous works as The Jew in Pink, The Walk, and Birthday; took an active part in the October Revolution of 1917; and exhibited in some important collectives. He was also nominated Commissar of Arts for Vitebsk, where he founded an academy of arts and the museum of modern art.

His idea of art, however, was not successful in the new Soviet Republic: on the occasion of the festival put on in Vitebsk for the first anniversary of the revolution, instead of the triumphal portraits of Marx, Engels and Lenin that the Soviet leaders were expecting, the walls of the city were covered with images of anthropomorphic flying cows and horses. Following this episode, Chagall clashed with his own school (also attended by El Lissitzky and Malevič), which was increasingly tied to Suprematism, in stark contrast to his fresh and fantastic style.

The situation came to a head, and in 1920 he was forced to resign and move with his wife and daughter to Moscow, where the government gave him a role teaching art to war orphans. In the Soviet capital, Chagall also accepted a commission to decorate nine panels for the Moscow State Jewish Theatre and sketch some scenery and characters: The Green Violinist , for example, is clearly a portrait of the Jewish artist with whom Chagall identified, while the theme of the goat, which appears in other sketches, is a clear reference to symbolic Jewish themes and Russian peasant tales.
Marc Chagall, L'ebreo rosso (l'ebreo in rosa) 1914-15, San Pietroburgo, Museo Statale Russo © Chagall ®, by SIAE 2019


In 1922, an embittered Chagall was finally able to leave revolutionary Russia and return to Paris. In the latter part of his time in Moscow he wrote his autobiography Ma Vie which, translated into French by his wife Bella, was published in France in 1931, illustrated with twenty plates which the artist etched in Berlin in collaboration with the printer Cassirer. The work, created at the time of his definitive break with his homeland, represented a sort of compendium of the Russian images and themes which Chagall intended to take with him into exile.

Although far away, Russia indeed remained for him the place where his roots lay, like an unrequited love which he dreamed of being able to conclude. It is not by chance that his autobiography finishes with the words My Russia will love me too, which was used as the title to this exhibition.

The exhibition in Palazzo Roverella aims to generate discussion of the position occupied by Chagall in the history of 20th century art. The result is a portrait of an artist who chose to model his art on the forms of a magical and fantastic past, but without ever renouncing the utopian demands of the avant-garde: rather, managing to make it coexist with the world of emotions and affectivity.
Marc Chagall, il mondo sottosopra, 1919, Parigi, collezione privata © Chagall ®, by SIAE 2019