I and the Village

I and the Village
I and the Village, 1911, 192.1 x 151.4. Oil on canvas, Museum of Modern Art, NY.

I and the Village is a 1911 painting by the Russian-French artist Marc Chagall. It is currently exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.[1]

The work contains many soft, dreamlike images overlapping each other in a continuous space:[2] in the foreground, a cap-wearing green-faced man stares at a goat or sheep with the image of a smaller goat being milked on its cheek. In the foreground is a glowing tree held in the man's dark hand. The background features a collection of houses next to an Orthodox church, and an upside-down female violinist in front of a black-clothed man holding a scythe. Note that the green-faced man wears a necklace with St. Andrew's cross, indicating that the man is a Christian. As the title suggests, I and the Village is influenced by memories of the artist's place of birth and his relationship to it.[3][1][4]

The significance of the painting lies in its seamless integration of various elements of Eastern European folktales and culture, both Russian and Yiddish.[5] Its clearly defined semiotic elements (e.g. The Tree of Life) and daringly whimsical style were at the time considered groundbreaking.[6] Its frenetic, fanciful style[3] is credited to Chagall's childhood memories becoming, in the words of scholar H.W. Janson, a "cubist fairy tale"[7] reshaped by his imagination, without regard to natural color, size or even the laws of gravity.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Marc Chagall: I and the Village, 1911". MoMA display caption. Retrieved 4 September, 2011.
  2. ^ Rosenblum, 240
  3. ^ a b c Barr, Alfred. "Masters of Modern Art". New York: Simon and Schuster, 1954. 133
  4. ^ See also Leah Dickerman.
  5. ^ Rosenblum, 241
  6. ^ Nilsen, Alleen Pace. "Encyclopedia of 20th-Century American Humor". Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press, 2000
  7. ^ Janson, Horst Woldemar. "The story of painting, from cave painting to modern times". H. N. Abrams, 1977.


  • Charlotte Douglas, Jeannene M. Przyblyski, I and the village: early works, Jewish Community Museum, 1987
  • Rosenblum, Robert. Cubism and Twentieth-Century Art. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1966.

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