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"The title "Russian painter" means more to me than any international fame... in my paintings there is not an inch free of nostalgia for my native land".

—Marc Chagall


Marc Chagall was born on 7 July 1887 in the small town of Vitebsk, in the then Russian Empire.

This half-Jewish, half-Russian town, located on the border between Russia and Belarus, had a decisive influence on Chagall's childhood; the atmosphere and customs of Vitebsk left him with deeply rooted cultural memories and influences. This period of his life was marked by family life, his father's manual labour, prayers and visits to the synagogue, attending school, children's games, dreams, Yiddish...; experiences of a childhood that fuelled his deep interest in nature, everyday life, folk legends and Jewish beliefs.

He bears witness to this in his autobiography Marc Chagall. My Life, a fundamental publication for an in-depth study of Chagall's universe.

Although the artist spent most of his long life far from his native city, his childhood memories and his beloved Vitebsk, as well as Russian traditions, are a constant element in his work throughout his career.

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