Chagall. Il mondo sottosopra

The upside down world of Chagall
22/12/2010 - 27/03/2011
Museo dell'Ara Pacis

On display are about 130 paintings and drawings, some of them previously unseen, coming from private collections, from the Musée National d'Art Moderne Centre Georges Pompidou and the Musée National Marc Chagall in Nice.

This exhibition pays tribute to Marc Chagall on the twenty-fifth anniversary of his death.
Observe the painter’s works, and you are soon aware of what is so very singular about the world he depicts. Strange characters from another age inhabit improbable spaces; animals are transfigured; a huddle of architecture forms the backdrop to scenes that are both ordinary yet magical. Again and again we are invited to contemplate a world where upheaval could equal catastrophe - or tragic muddle - or indeed enchantment and delight. That is why we are so readily drawn into Chagall’s canvases, each one of which reveals episodes in which human beings, animals and objects are
displaced, promenaded, transferred. Topsy turvy, the images detach themselves from contingent reality, from their point of origin.

The exhibition sets out to shed fresh light on the factors which led the artist to conceive a world in which, as he put it, “a man needs to be face to face with what is behind him to affirm he is walking forwards” or “an upright vase does not exist, it must fall to prove it is stable”. We look in turn at the artist’s relationship with the Surrealists, who were adept at “revolution” and turning established values on their head.
But the exhibition also makes room to address other theories, particularly those concerning the artist’s religious identity. The roaming forms, their migration towards the very centre of the painting, their constant peregrinations seem, in fact, to hint at a link with the exoduses the Jewish people underwent at various times in their history.
The world that Chagall portrays is, in a very real sense, a world turned upside down. It is a world in which “time has no shores”, to borrow the title of a 1930s painting in which the betrothed and the married, rabbis and musicians, clocks and
carts, donkeys and cockerels - even the artist himself, so often self-portrayed - give themselves up to bold acrobatics, not unlike the circus performers the artist liked so much to take as his subjects. The exhibition brings together ninety one works, 23 paintings and 68 drawings, of which some twenty have not previously been shown.


Museo dell'Ara Pacis
Opening hours

Tuesday-Sunday: 9.00 am - 7.00 pm;
December 24 and 31: 9.00 am - 2.00 pm;
Last admission 1 hour before closing time;
Closed: Monday, December 25, January 1.

Entrance ticket

Adults: € 11.00;
Concessions: € 9.00;
Roman Citiziens only (by showing a valid ID): Adults: € 10.00; Concessions: € 8.00;
Tickets can be purchased using cash, ATM or major credit cards.
Free of charge and concessions


Info: +39 060608 (daily from 9.00 am to 9.00 pm)

Other information

Promoted by Roma Capitale Assessorato alle Politiche Culturali e della Comunicazione-Sovraintendenza ai Beni Culturali, République Française, Musée national Marc Chagall di Nizza, Zètema Progetto Cultura
Sponsors: Banche Tesoriere del Comune di Roma (BNL– Gruppo BNP Paribas, Unicredit Banca di Roma, Monte dei Paschi di Siena),Gioco del Lotto Lottomatica, Atac, Vodafone

Web site
Zètema Progetto Cultura
Sponsored by

Security service: Travis

With technical contributions from

La Repubblica, Dimensione Suono Due

Maurice Fréchuret Direttore dei musei nazionali del XX secolo delle Alpi-Marittime e Elisabeth Pacoud-Rème Responsabile delle collezioni al Musée National Marc Chagall


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22/12/2010 - 27/03/2011
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