Instilled with romance and intrigue, Marc Chagall’s stunning color lithograph series Daphnis and Chloe is based on the ancient pastoral tale of Daphnis and Chloe, which captures the triumphs and tragedies of young love. Eloquently composed by the Greek poet Longus in the second century A.D., this remarkable tale follows the lives of Daphnis and Chloe as they journey on a path towards true love and happiness. Set on the Isle of Lesbos, Daphnis and Chloe recounts the tale of two orphaned infants who are discovered, two years apart, on a mountainside. They are draped in luxurious garments and surrounded by tokens of wealth, suggesting that they may be of noble birth. A goatherd and a shepherd respectively find Daphnis and Chloe and raise them as their own children. Daphnis and Chloe grow up tending their parents’ flocks on the rolling hills and green pastures of the Grecian countryside, unaware of each other’s existence until Eros, the god of Love, brings them together.
Overwhelmed by their sudden desire for one another and naive in the ways of love, Daphnis and Chloe endure countless trials and tribulations before fulfilling their true fate as soul mates and lovers. Throughout the novel, Chloe is courted by various suitors, two of whom, Dorcon and Lampis, attempt to abduct her. She is also carried off by raiders from a nearby city and saved by the intervention of the god Pan. Meanwhile, Daphnis faces his own hardships. He falls into a pit, is abducted by pirates, and fends off innumerous foes. In the end, Daphnis and Chloe reunite, meet their true birth parents, get married, and live out their days peacefully in the lush Greek countryside. A rich source of artistic inspiration, Daphnis and Chloe is a timeless romance. Daphnis and Chloe’s love survives abduction, piracy, war, and predatory suitors, proving that true love conquers all.
Marc Chagall’s Daphnis and Chloe was commissioned by Teriade in 1956 to illustrate the ancient pastoral romance of Daphnis and Chloe. Chagall spent the next five years of his life, from 1956-1961, creating 42 color lithographs to visually narrate this classic tale. Marc Chagall’s Daphnis and Chloe coincides with Chagall’s second marriage to Valentina (Vava) Brodsky at a time of new beginnings and new romance for Chagall. On the newlyweds’ honeymoon to Greece, where they visited Delphi, Athens, and Poros, Chagall gathered inspiration for this series of color lithographs.
Both technically and aesthetically, Marc Chagall’s Daphnis and Chloe series is a resounding achievement. Each stunning Chagall color lithograph within this series was printed with 20-25 individual colors. From a technical standpoint, separately pulling 20-25 colors per print requires a vast amount of patience and precision. From an aesthetic viewpoint, the incorporation of a 20-25 vibrant colors within each Chagall lithograph inspires awe and brings each work to life.
Chagall’s Daphnis and Chloe is best known for Chagall’s use of color and his romantic, whimsical imagery. Renowned as a master of color, Chagall’s impressive skill shines through in these exquisite color lithographs. Reflective of his painterly style and rich color palette, Chagall’s Daphnis and Chloe is often considered one of his most important graphic series.
MORE MARC CHAGALL SERIES:
- Marc Chagall, Drawings for the Bible Series, 1958-1960, Color Lithographs
- Marc Chagall, Windows for Jerusalem Lithograph Series
- Marc Chagall, Nice and the Côt’d Azur Lithograph Series
OTHER MARC CHAGALL WORKS:
- Patrick Cramer. Marc Chagall, The Illustrated Books.
- Distributed Art Publishers, Marc Chagall The Lithographs, La Collection Sorlier
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