The essay "Marc Chagall’s Blue House" explores Marc Chagall’s "Blue House". One of the modernists describes the process of painting as an attempt “to make visible that there is something which can be conceived and which can neither be seen nor made visible”. This “something that can be conceived but not seen nor made visible” is often referred to as the sublime, a quality of transcendent greatness “with which nothing else can be compared and which is beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement or imitation”. The presence of this sublime element, then, inspires the imagination in a specific direction based on which elements remain visible or understandable. Its significance is in the way in which it brings attention to the uncertainty of meaning inherent in the work, such that no resolution makes itself apparent. To understand how this untouchable element can be communicated through visual art, Marc Chagall’s oil painting “Blue House”, currently on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Liege, Belgium, will be analyzed as an example. This “something that can be conceived but not seen nor made visible” is often referred to as the sublime, a quality of transcendent greatness “with which nothing else can be compared and which is beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement or imitation”. The presence of this sublime element, then, inspires the imagination in a specific direction based on which elements remain visible or understandable. It brings attention to the uncertainty....
e is also in a state of dilapidation that would make it completely unsuitable to live in as the roof does not seem structurally sound with large gaping holes in places, the boards are falling off the doorframes and windows and the very walls themselves seem be about to come disconnected. Despite its apparent abandonment, a small path remains leading down into the valley which is divided nearly down the middle by a small, concrete-grey river.
This river marks the division point in the content of the painting as it helps to distinguish between the two sides of the valley floor. On the side nearest the house, the valley seems to be relatively desolate, with large dry areas and wild, new, light green grassy areas. On the other side of the river, though, there are dark green cultivated fields standing before a great city standing on the hill at the other side of the valley. The city is full of large white and red-tinged buildings, some of them long and blocky and others tall with spires. Some have red roofs and others have blue roofs, but all seem crammed together and, as a group, they block out the horizon. This city appears to have a wall around its base, separating it from the fields before it and protecting it from the unassuming opposition. All of this is depicted under a grey and somewhat threatening sky, which contributes to the dead grey of the river and gives an impression that there is smoke emerging from the top of the blue house's back chimney.
With its emphasis on the long view, the painting immediately seems to be a landscape. This is mostly thanks to the concentration of the house and faraway city and view of the valley between (His, 1936: 30). There is a sense of overpowering nature involved in that the city must be protected even from its own