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Marc Chagall Museum

Marc Chagall Museum in Vitebsk
Marc Chagall Museum in Vitebsk

One of the most famous people to come from Belarus is surrealist artist Marc Chagall. Today, the Marc Chagall Museum in Vitebsk, is one of the most visited museums in Belarus

Who was Marc Chagall?

Marc Chagall was arguably one of the most famous Belarusians of all times. Key to the development of 20th century Belarus art, Chagall is known around the world for his surrealist paintings.

Chagall was born in Vitebsk on 7th July 1887 and studied in St Petersburg before leaving for Paris in 1910 where he was instrumental in the development of the Cubist school.

He returned to Vitebsk in 1914 and married his fiancée Bella before the outbreak of the World War 1.

After the Revolution in 1917 he was appointed Commissar of Art for Vitebsk and founded the city’s School of Art.

In 1920 he went to Moscow and from there back to Paris. His work was denounced by the Nazis and when war broke out he moved to the US with his wife. When she died in 1944 he stopped painting for some years.

In the 1960s Chagall designed stained glass windows for Hadassah University Medical Centre in Jerusalem and went on to create windows around the world including in Germany, France and the UK.

It is difficult to categorise Chagall's art. He was very involved with the avant-garde but his work was consistently on the fringes of popular art movements and emerging trends, including Cubism, Fauvism and Surrealism.

Marc Chagall died in France in 1985.

The Marc Chagall Museum

The Marc Chagall Museum opened in 1992 and is one of the most interesting museums in Belarus with more than 300 original works of art including:

  • lithographs
  • xylographs
  • etchings
  • aquatints
  • illustrations to Nikolai Gogol’s poem Dead Souls

The museum also houses a number of reproductions of some of Chagall’s most famous works.

Getting to the Marc Chagall Museum and where to stay

The Marc Chagall Museum is in the green and leafy northern side of Vitebsk. It is easily accessible by foot from the town centre.

It is about a 10-minute walk from Vitebsk railway station.

There are a range of Vitebsk hotels where you can stay. Most are within walking distance of the town centre.

Things to see near the Marc Chagall Museum

Chagall dominates the arts in Vitebsk and as well as the Marc Chagall Museum you can also visit:

  • Marc Chagall house: the house where Chagall spent his childhood, now displaying documents and works of art detailing the artist’s life in the city.
  • Marc Chagall monument
  • Art Museum

Other places of interest in the surrounding area include:

Great Patriotic War monuments in Belarus
Souvenirs from Belarus
Belarusian sanatoria and health resorts