"For me, a stained glass window represents the transparent partition between my heart and the heart of the world. Stained glass is exhilarating, it needs gravity, passion. It has to live through the perceived light." *
Conceived in partnership with the Centre Pompidou-Metz, the exhibition Marc Chagall, le passeur de lumière explores the importance of light and stained glass in the artist's work. After nearly 30 years of creating stained glass windows, these words from Chagall sum up the role that the artist assigned to the art of stained glass: to bring a message of spirituality and inner light to humanity.
Today, 15 buildings in France and around the world proudly bear the artist's work. Through his creations, Marc Chagall wanted to offer his contemporaries and future generations images of peace and transcendence. These images, rich in iconography, are admirably supported by the emotional force of his colours and the changing reflections of the external luminosity.
In full control of his means, Chagall put all his talent as a colourist and image-maker at the service of this demanding technique. The vast majority of his windows, created in the Reims workshops of the master glassmaker Simon-Marq, were made in the tradition of an ancestral know-how, practised with inventiveness by Chagall and his accomplices and friends, Charles Marq and Brigitte Simon. The final touch, made up of the multiple highlights of grisaille that Chagall applied to the stained glass to make the material vibrate, offers us all the freedom and generosity of the artist's hand. In return, stained glass allowed him to transcend the material limits of painting by inscribing the changing reflections of light as an intrinsic component of the work.
The Nice exhibition will highlight two exceptional pieces held at the Musée National Marc Chagall: the model of the Rose for Metz Cathedral and the stained glass windows of The Creation of the World, designed for the museum's concert hall. In this exceptional place, visitors will have the privilege of discovering the stained glass windows illuminated with a thousand lights in the morning and then returning in the evening to be carried away by the music in the concert hall.
* quote from Marc Chagall, interview with André Verdet, Chagall méditerranéen, Paris, 1984.
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