By Viktar Korbut
Sculptor Svetlana Gorbunova’s composition features a young and inspired Marc Chagall flying above Vitebsk. She used documents and photos to create her work, spending several years on the sculpture. As The MT has previously written, the monument has been symbolically installed in the National Art Museum’s hall.
For a long time, Chagall was perceived as a Russian and French artist, although he was born in Vitebsk. Moreover, his first portrait was drawn by Yudel Pen — also from Vitebsk (Pen was Chagall’s teacher of painting). In fact, Pen’s portrait welcomes visitors as they enter the National Art Museum, while the monument closes their tour. As yet, the National Art Museum lacks any original paintings by Chagall; however, the name of the master is greatly revered.
Ms. Gorbunova decided to create her sculpture after a trip to New York. “At the end of the last century, I visited the local UN headquarters, seeing a stained glass window inspired by Chagall’s works. Looking at it, I saw many images of Vitebsk and felt that Chagall expressed his love for his motherland through this work,” she explains.
Since 1994, Chagall’s sculpture has resided at Ms. Gorbunova’s workshop, only appearing at exhibitions sporadically. However, it has at last acquired a new home at the National Art Museum — owing to financial support from a foreign company.
One rumour among artistic circles is that the museum’s Director, Vladimir Prokoptsov, posed for the work; he is keeping silent on the matter but his similarity to the great painter is remarkable.
Next year, Marc Chagall’s 125th birthday is to be celebrated and there are great hopes that some original works may go on show in Minsk, as Vladimir Shchasny — the Chairman of the Belarusian National Commission to UNESCO — tells us.