L'artiste au cirque combines many of Chagall's most iconic artistic elements: the lovers, the artist at work, and even a couple of violin players. The characteristic blue tones give the work a wonderfully magical atmosphere, which shows off the vibrant areas of red, yellow and green to great effect. The scene is imbued with a palpable energy and buzz, deriving from the circus's ambiguous identity as simultaneously fun-loving and tragic. The work - with its lively cast of animals, musicians and acrobats - is extraordinarily emotive and life-affirming, just as any visit to the circus should be. As Venturi explains, 'the importance of the circus motif in modern French literature and painting is well known; in painting it suffices to recall the names of Seurat and Rouault. As always, Chagall's images of circus people [...] are at once burlesque and tender. Their perspective of sentiment, their fantastic forms, suggest that the painter is amusing himself in a freer mood than usual; and the result is eloquent of the unmistakable purity flowing from Chagall's heart. These circus scenes are mature realisations of earlier dreams' (Lionello Venturi, Marc Chagall, New York, 1945, p. 39).
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