Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York (acquired directly from the artist)
Private Collection, Germany (acquired from the above on 18th May 1973)
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1974
At the centre of the present composition, as indicated by the title, is the artist himself, depicted upside down as if thrown off balance by the tumult of activity created by the surrounding figures and images. The grey background highlighted by the white snow gives this painting a sombre, self-reflective tenor, recalling his earlier works. The imagery surrounding the artist consists largely of memories of his past: the houses of his native Vitebsk, the horse symbolizing the artist's humble origins, and the cadre of musicians and performers who populate the margins. In addition to these elements, Chagall adds a variety of religious iconography, including the prominent crucifix at the upper left, symbolizing not only Christianity but human suffering in general. The composition is not only a self- reflective statement but a pictorial recording of the artist’s everyday thoughts.
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