Chagall himself commented on the theme of the circus in his work: "For me a circus is a magic show which appears and disappears like a world. A circus is disturbing, it is profound... It is a magic word, circus, a timeless game where tears and smiles, the play of arms and legs take the form of great art... These clowns, bareback riders and acrobats have made themselves at home in my visions. Why? Why am I so touched by their make-up and their grimaces? With them I can move toward new horizons. Lured by their colours and make-up, I dream of painting new psychic distortions... The circus seems to me like the most tragic show on earth... I would like to go up to that bareback rider who has just reappeared, smiling; her dress, a bouquet of flowers. I would circle her with my flowered and unflowered years. On my knees, I would tell her wishes and dreams, not of this world" (Marc Chagall, Le Cirque (exhibition catalogue), Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, 1981).
In the present work, Chagall focuses his attention on depicting the overall mood of the circus scene through iconic symbols such as the violin and bouquet, as well as pictorial elements of color and form, achieving a lively and highly colored composition which expresses his timeless game of life, art and masquerade.
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