The Birthday

The Birthday
Artist Marc Chagall
Year 1915
Medium Oil on cardboard
Location Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
Dimensions 31.7 x 39.2 in
80.5 x 99.5 cm
Marc Chagall Famous Paintings
I and the Village, 1911
The Birthday, 1915
The Fiddler, 1913
La Mariée, 1950
Over the Town, 1918
White Crucifixion, 1938

Russian born painter Marc Chagall called “love” the primary color of his paintings. The central source of the love in his life was his wife, Bella. They met when Bella was a teenager in their home town of Vitebsk, Belarus. Chagall’s original name was Moyshe Shagal when he was born in 1887.

A Portrait of Love

The Birthday was painted by Chagall in 1915 just a few weeks before he and Bella married. The painting is a wonderful expression of the amazing, flowing and powerful love these two shared. Chagall is pictured flowing and dreamlike, floating above Bella. His head is unrealistically craned upside down and backward as he twists around to kiss his future wife on the mouth.

Bright and Euphoric

Bella is depicted holding a cheerful bouquet of flowers and also floating in the air, as if just lifting off. The couple is suspended in loving bliss in a bright living room setting dominated below by a vivid red carpet. The painting is balanced above by the ivory, beige and tans of the living room furniture and wall decorations.

The Birthday is a marvelous creation which powerfully conveys that feeling of euphoric love between young lovers in a blissful yet ordinary setting that seems to ooze happiness out of every square inch of canvas.

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