Vitebsk, the hometown of Marc Chagall, was an inexhaustible source of inspiration for the artist during his whole life. Domes of churches and old streets, miniature houses and shops with signboards, strips of wooden fences, horse-cab drivers in the streets are perpetuated in the artist’s canvases together with the famous angels and lovers in the sky...
Scientists, historians, art critics and, of course, artists from all over the world come to Vitebsk to get the feel of the city and see where one of the brightest representatives of the 20th-century avant-garde the lived and worked…
The famous house in Pokrovskaya Street on the right bank of the Western Dvina River, where the artist spent his childhood and adolescence in the early 1900s, was built by his father. During the war the building was severely damaged by bombs and fire, but it miraculously survived.
The Marc Chagall Museum was opened in 1997. Its exposition shows the household items of the late 19th-early 20th centuries, and also the “witnesses” of his life – archival documents, his first works, and personal belongings of the artist and his family. Not much of the interior design has survived, but the atmosphere of the era has been accurately recreated. The exhibits were selected using Marc Chagall’s drawings of the interiors of his parental home.
The second part of the museum, the Marc Chagall Art Center, is located on the left bank of the Western Dvina River. The center boasts one of the world’s biggest Chagall collections that comprises more than 300 original graphic works and reproductions of his most famous paintings.
The Marc Chagall Art Center was opened in the 19th century building, depicted in his world-renown painting Above the City, in 1992. The works presented to the museum by friends from the Group of Assistance to the Chagall House-Museum in Vitebsk (Nienburg, Germany) became the first exhibits in the collection.
The museum houses the richest collection of the artist’s graphic works, including lithographs, xylographs as well as three colored aquatints donated to the museum by the artist’s daughter Ida Chagall in 1994, and 96 calligraphic etchings, representing a cycle of book illustrations, that were donated by the artist’s granddaughters Meret and Bella.
The main draw of the collection is Marc Chagall’s wonderful book illustrations. Among them is a series of sketches to Nikolai Gogol’s novel Dead Souls (1923-1925), a series of colored lithographs named The Bible (1956 and 1960) and 12 Tribes of Israel (1960)…
The museum also keeps a weighty collection of the printed graphics of outstanding representatives of the European avant-garde – Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Fernand Leger…
The center traditionally organizes exhibitions of Marc Chagall’s works from its own holdings and collections of the artist’s family, and also exhibitions of paintings by modern Belarusian and foreign artists.
Besides, the museum annually holds Chagall Readings. The program of this forum usually features scientific conferences, lectures, concerts, theatrical and circus performances, and also exhibitions of works by young artists from Vitebsk.
The Art Center has a scientific library with books about Marc Chagall's life and art. The library was opened in 2002 thanks to donations by Dr. Henrich Mandel from German Irrel to celebrate the 115th anniversary of the artist’s birth.
The library’s holdings comprise more than 3,500 books in different languages, including English, German, French, and Russian. All of them were written between the early 20th century and the present. Among the books there are works on the history of fine arts, Russian and European avant-garde, Marc Chagall’s art, his autobiography My Life, memoirs about the artist, and books that he illustrated.
The only museum of Marc Chagall in Belarus turns into the world cultural center and hosts various events to celebrate landmark events in the life of the famous artist all the year round. It brings together scientists, artists, writers, musicians and interesting events.
In 2015, the Wedding Extravaganza Lovers Over the Town took place in Vitebsk to mark the 100th anniversary of Marc Chagall and Bella Rosenfeld’s wedding.
The Marc Chagall Museum is located in the center of Vitebsk, not far from the railway station in 11 Pokrovskaya Street.
The Marc Chagall Art Center – 2 Putna Street (25 Sovetskaya Street).
Working hours: 11:00-18:00
Days off: Monday, Tuesday from 1 October till 1 April; Monday from 1 April till 1 October.
Tickets: Br20,000 for adults; Br15,000 for students.
Excursions: Br90,000 (groups of up to 25 people at the Marc Chagall Museum, up to 40 people at the Marc Chagall Art Center).