Self Portrait with Seven Fingers

Essay by laurenr0seJunior High, 8th gradeA, November 2014

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Art Criticism/ Description

'Self Portrait with Seven Fingers' is a portrait painting created by Marc Chagali in 1912/ 1913. It is a piece that reflects various things that had happened to him and his memories of his home country, Russia.

This painting has 3 elements of art, Shape, Value and Line. Line is used mostly in the body and face. The lines in the face display a stern expression and illustrate a serious side to the painting. The sharp Value in the face shows shadows under the well-defined line of the cheekbone. The body is made up of geometric shapes to give the figure a formal aspect and define his serious posture.

In this portrait painting, Chagali, the person in the centre of the piece is painting his experiences and memories of Russia onto a canvas. On the canvas there is a bull drinking from a water trough, a church and a ghostly looking floating figure.

In the thought bubble in the top right hand corner it is showing a village with a church or chapel late at night. In the window the Eiffel tower is the dominant shape reflecting the fact that he is in France. Others include dark figures and an outline of a car, which was a very new invention around the 1900s. There are seven fingers on his left hand, they represent the fact that he was left-handed and had to paint and hold things.

In the foreground of the painting there is a paint palate and a group of paintbrushes in his right hand to give the impression that he is an artist without saying so. In the middle Chagali introduces the canvas painting and the use of elements within the painting. In the background, the Eiffel tower out the window was...