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Teacher Resource: Suggested Answers:


Marc Chagall states that his artworks help

him to discover the meaning of life.
Looking at I and the Village what can you
discern about the meaning of life? Make
close reference to the text to justify your
That mans experience is tied closely
with nature symbolised by the
presence of the animals, plants, sun,
moon etc. Man with a scythe
indicates a pastoral existence.
Connotations of life being dream-like
and surreal (medium, nonsensical elements of the image e.g. woman and
houses upturned etc).
The downturned images may also suggest that our life can literally be turned
upside down at any moment as the Game of Life changes.
Strong elements of Christianity. Mans experience is tied in with God Church
with a cross at the top of the page, Tree of Life/Knowledge held in the palm of
the hand at the bottom of the page, cross on the man on the right hand side.
The Tree of Life/Knowledge also has connotations of a battle between good and
evil further enhanced by the stark contrast of light and dark colours. This could
be further expanded
Life is a journey indicated by the upward progression of the male moving along
the path.
Suggests that life is about perspective through the inversion of some elements
(woman/houses) etc.


What is the salient point of the image? What does this suggest?
The nose of the man and the animal. Suggests that mans experience of life is
tied to nature (further indicated by being joined through an eclipse of the
sun/moon the eclipse also acts as a vector to the Tree of Knowledge)


Analyse how vectors have been used to create meaning. (E.g. outline the reading
Our eyes are immediately drawn to the two figures, who dominate in terms of
size and spatial positioning in the foreground highlighting their equal
importance and interconnectedness. Both noses also act as vectors to the Tree
of Knowledge which is placed at the bottom of the work showing it to be
literally the core of our existence. The viewers eyes travel along the path to the
top of the image and the upturned houses and woman bring the eyes back down
again revealing the cyclical nature of life. The eye of the animal takes us to the
woman milking the cow again suggesting that the earth and nature is the
source of life


Chagalls work is rich with semiotic (the study of indication, designation, likeness,
analogy, metaphor, symbolism, signification, and communication) meaning. Find AT
LEAST THREE symbols in I and the Village and explain their metaphorical
Tree of Knowledge Biblical reference. Can symbolise a contest between good
and evil. Can also symbolise the fruits of man and nature living in harmony.
The face appearing in the place of windows and doors at the church
symbolising that religion is a living breathing entity giving it more importance
than any other building. Suggests that religion may be the core of humanity
Circular geometries representing the sun, the moon and the earth.


Why is the Tree of Life situated at the bottom of the image? What might its placement
suggest about common aspects of human experience?
Could represent and link to the story of Adam and Eve - and the beginnings of man.
That nature is the core of all humanity
That the seed of life comes from mans partnership with nature and that it is
something to be nurtured.


What ideas are made about the connection between man and the natural world? Use
evidence to support your answer.
See points made above


In what ways does Chagalls use of abstract imagery invoke a feeling of dreaminess?

Colours, the spatial positioning of the woman milking the cow, the face in the church,
the inverted images, contrast of light and dark.

8) What is the effect of Chagalls use of colours and geometric shapes? What feeling does it give
about human experience?
Chagalls use of predominately circular geometric shapes denotes the earth, sun and
moon, indicating again how mans experience is tied in with nature and the seasons. The
changing colours, dark blue to light red show the moon and sun respectively to indicate
the passing of time.
9) It is hinted in Chagalls painting that religion is an important part of the human experience.
Give evidence for this.
Presence of the face in place of the church suggesting religion as a live entity. Its
placement at the top of the image further accentuates its importance. Conversely, the
placement of the Tree of Life as the core of our experience also suggests its importance.
The peasant is wearing a cross around his neck
10) Some images have been inverted (e.g. houses and the female). Explain the significance of
the inversion. Can you relate this back to the Game of Life?

The downturned images may also suggest that our life can literally be turned upside
down at any moment, as the Game of Life changes.
The Game of Life can throw the unexpected in our path.

11) Chagalls artwork is described as abstract and surreal. How would you describe
Spielbergs Catch Me If You Can in comparison?
Catch Me If You Can is an autobiographical film, shown in a naturalistic medium
(cinematography/film). However, Abignales feats are so clever that they in
themselves seem surreal.
12) In his film, Spielberg promotes the idea that the game of life is largely consumed with
material possessions and status. Is this idea confirmed or challenged in Chagalls work?
Give reasons for your response.
This idea is challenged, as mans experience and pursuit is primarily concerned with
the interconnectedness of nature. The differing contexts of the texts reveal that as
time has evolved the nature of the Game of Life has changed. It is now driven by
money and materialism (e.g. consider Abignales desire for wealth and acclaim),
whereas in the past it has been more about working in conjunction with nature and
agricultural pursuits.
13) Spielberg shows that there are definitely winners and losers in the game of life. Does
Chagall promote or challenge this idea? Give reasons for your answer.
Chagall challenges the idea of winners and losers in the Game of Life. This is shown
as the figures within the image are all equal in terms of spatial positioning. Each
figure appears to have something to offer or contribute to society.