Malaga is fast gaining a reputation for art exhibitions of world-class calibre. Hot on the heels of Jackson Pollock’s extraordinary ‘Mural’ at the Picasso Museum comes Chagall at the Russian Museum. It’s not often you get the chance to see so many of his works together and art critics are hailing this as 1 of the best art exhibitions in Malaga this year. If you’re on holiday in Malaga, put this on your must-see list.
Note that this post refers to an exhibition at the Russian Museum in Malaga in 2016. For information about the current exhibitions, click here.
The Russian Museum in Malaga is slowly forging a reputation for exceptional art and the latest offering – Chagall and his Russian Contemporaries – is no exception. Visitors to last year’s exhibition saw 1 work by Chagall, The Mirror, but nothing more. Until now.
Nearly 60 works are on show by 15 artists, mostly Jewish like Chagall and working at the same time as he was. The exhibition includes 16 paintings by Chagall himself and offers some of his best-known works (Jew in Red and The Promenade are 2 of them) plus others that have rarely been shown outside their private collections.
Chagall in context
The exhibition places Chagall within a Jewish context, working both in Vitebsk (Belarus where he was born in 1887) and Paris where he found some of his best inspiration. Examples of his work as an illustrator of children’s books are on display – the script is in Yiddish because Chagall was a keen advocate of promoting Jewish culture.
Work by his contemporaries such as Baranoff-Rossiné and Altman start the exhibition. One of the highlights here are the intricate sculptures in wood and stone. It’s also interesting to see the use of colour – vibrant oranges and blues dominate even in the Russian landscapes – and the influence of Cubism.
The exhibition then moves onto Chagall himself and you get an excellent snapshot of his work. The paintings cover a range of styles and mediums: from romantic in China blue oils in The Lovers to satirical in Indian ink in The Date.
Many of the works include a twist of humour and Jewish figures from a barber to Chagall’s own family. The exhibition also includes a reproduction of the family dining room in Vibetsk, also on loan from the Russian State Museum. Chagall’s niece donated the contents of the room to the museum and in her accompanying letter she describes them as “treasured possessions”.
[box type=”tick” border=”full”]Top tip: entry is free on Sundays after 4pm[/box]
After our visit, we could see why it’s one of the best art exhibitions in Malaga this year. It’s not often you get to see so many of Chagall’s works together and some of them now on the walls of the Russian Museum have rarely been on show to the public.
The exhibition also gives you a great insight into Chagall’s life and times. He lived extensively in France and the US – both countries claim him as their own – but it’s obvious from the paintings where he believed his homeland to be. According to the exhibition, Chagall was thrilled when he discovered that his painting of the view from a window at his Vibetsk home had not been destroyed as he had feared.
And like Pollock’s Mural (on view at the Picasso Museum Malaga until 9 Sept), Chagall and his Russian Contemporaries brings exceptional art to Malaga. You can’t say the same about many venues outside Madrid and Barcelona.
For these reasons, we think this is one of the best art exhibitions in Malaga this year, if not the best. But that, of course, depends on your taste! You can see the Chagall exhibition until the end of January.
Other worthwhile art exhibitions in Malaga
Chagall is joined by another newbie – 4 Decades of Russian Art – looking at art in Russia since the 1960s. This is a mixture of pop art, contemporary paintings (some from this year) and takes on Russian icons.
And while you’re visiting the Chagall exhibition, don’t miss the main galleries at the Russian Museum. This year’s exhibition depicts the four seasons as painted by Russian artists plus 4 installations by local artists.
How to get to the Russian Museum in Malaga
The Russian Museum is on the west side of town. If you fancy a bit of exercise, walk westwards along the seafront until the Burger King. Turn inland here and head for the Tabacalera located 2 streets back.
Or get the No 7 bus from the Alameda Principal and get off at La Tabacalera stop. Journey time is 15-20 minutes and buses run every 10-20 minutes.
Opening times and admission
The Russian Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday 9.30am to 8pm
Entry to the Chagall exhibition costs €4 (€2.50 reduced – over 65s, students under 26). A combo ticket to see the permanent exhibition as well costs €8 (€4 reduced).
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