Fully-fledged festival in Chagall’s city

Festive events organised in Vitebsk in April to honour the 125th anniversary of Marc Chagall’s birth

By Darya Kurilova

Undoubtedly, the 22nd Chagall Readings and the marking of Chagall’s birthday will be central to the celebrations planned. Readings are to be dedicated to the history of Vitebsk’s Art College from 1918-1923 — as launched in the city by Chagall himself, in his capacity as Commissar for Art Affairs in the Vitebsk Province. Applications to take part have been received from art experts and Chagall researchers from Belarus, Russia, Latvia, France and Germany.

Chagall’s birthday is being celebrated in Vitebsk from July 7-8th and, on July 6th, the Art Museum of Vitebsk is to open an exhibition of a single painting: Chagall’s portrait by Yehuda Pen — Marc Chagall’s first teacher (from the National Art Museum archive). The celebrations are to be crowned by a programme entitled ‘At Marc and Bella’s’ in Pokrovskaya Street, comprising theatrical and circus performances, a solemn wreath-laying ceremony, a craft fair, literary readings and musical performances.

On July 6th, Belpochta is to organise a special cancellation of the envelope and a postal stamp dedicated to the 125th anniversary of Chagall’s birth while the outdoor ‘Vitebsk — A City of Artists’ event is scheduled for the next day, hosted by Vitebsk’s central squares.

Traditions of pictorial art remain strong in the city, with young artists and designers annually graduating from its two universities. Masters of all ages are invited to open air workshops: from pupils of children’s art schools to well-known and acknowledged masters.

In early April, the Vitebsk Regional Methodical Centre of Folk Art is to host the 4th Insita-2012 National Exhibition of Naive Art at Marc Chagall’s Art Centre, featuring works dedicated to the legendary artist. Other festive events include two open air workshops: an international students’ open air event and another open air workshop organised by the Vitebsk branch of the Belarusian Union of Artists. The jubilee year is to end with the Teacher and Pupil exhibition, hosted by Vitebsk’s Art Museum. It is to showcase works by Yehuda Pen, Marc Chagall’s teacher, and works by the artist himself (titles as yet undisclosed as negotiations are ongoing with those currently holding works).

The Tretyakov Gallery is also to host an exhibition, while the Hermitage is organising a conference dedicated to Chagall.

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