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Marc Chagall. I and the Village. 1911 4

Oil on canvas, 6' 3 5/8" x 59 5/8" (192.1 x 151.4 cm). Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund. © 2024 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Narrator: A green man is having a staring contest with a cow.

A small woman is milking a small cow.

In the distance, a farmer carries a tool with a curved blade for cutting grain. He meets an upside–down woman walking in front of her upside–down house.

Farmer: Careful, Tanya, or you’ll fall!

Narrator: Is this a dream?! Maybe! Or maybe artist Marc Chagall is mixing memories of his home in Russia with folktales he heard when he was little. He was living far from home, in the big city of Paris, France, when he painted this picture.

Look at the big cow again. Did you notice that thin line connecting her eye to the eye of the man?

Maybe Chagall connected them because he remembered how much the animals and people in his town relied on each other.

Maybe all nature was important—check out the tree the green man is holding with clouds of seeds bursting out of it. Chagall said:

Artist, Marc Chagall (read by an actor): Our whole inner world is reality.

Narrator: He meant that what we see in our imaginations can be as important as what we see with our eyes. How you would you paint your feelings about your hometown?