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Marc Chagall paintings often feature young women or couples, but few cast such a striking impression as Mariee, clothed in her bright red wedding dress. Surely an ode to young love, this painting features a young woman in quasi-wedding attire with a bouquet of flowers being presented to the viewer in a bold and conspicuous fashion, as if we were the ones marrying her.
The genius of Mariee is in the choice of colors. The young woman is dressed in a vibrant red dress, with a virginal white veil draped over her head, while the background is a cool and subdued mélange of blues and grays. This effect allows the image of the woman to leap off the canvas and really draw your attention. It is quite apparent that Chagall was attempting to show this woman in high regard, as is the tradition at any wedding.
The wedding theme is further supported in the background. It includes a favorite element of 20th century European artists with the animals playing musical instruments, which is right up Chagall’s alley. There is a man hovering over the bride’s head, seemingly adjusting her veil as if to make sure that she is presented perfectly for her groom. Note the obligatory church in the distant background, placed there almost as an afterthought, but something that seems to be a requirement in any wedding painting.
While Mariee may not be groundbreaking for Chagall, it certainly is an adequate showcase of his talent and eye for color contrasts. This is such an important skill for any painter, and Marc Chagall paintings, especially Mariee, are good examples of how to do it right.