The journalist Alexander Liberman, who visited Chagall in Vence in the late 1950's, eloquently described the intricacy of Chagall's mature paintings: "Like a human being, a Chagall painting reveals its rich complexity only if one has lived with it and in it, in the way the artist has during its creation. One must look at his paintings closely to experience their full power. After the impact of the overall effect, there is the joy of the close-up discovery. In this intimate scrutiny, the slightest variation takes on immense importance. We cannot concentrate for a long time; our senses tire quickly and we need, after moments of intense stimulation, periods of rest. Chagall understands this visual secret better than most painters; he draws our interest into a corner where minute details hold it, and when we tire of that, we rest, floating in a space of color, until the eye lands on a new small island of quivering life" (A. Liberman, "The Artist in His Studio," 1958, reprinted in Jacob Baal-Teshuva, Chagall: A Retrospective (exhibition catalogue) 1995, p. 337).
The central figures floating about the townscape of Les Amoureux dans le ciel rouge are a pair of lovers - a reference to the love of Chagall's youth, Bella. Love and marriage were an important part of Chagall's life, as well as a recurring theme in his painting. His first great love Bella Rosenfeld was also from the artist's native Vitebsk, and remained a powerful symbol of his homeland, while his second wife, Vava Brodsky, was always associated for Chagall with France, where he lived at the time and where the two met. These highly personal and romantic symbols of his life both in Russia and in France are harmoniously combined in Les Amoureux dans le ciel rouge.
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