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Chagall had just married his first wife Bella when he began this painting. It is a reverie in which he imagines himself outstretched in the Russian countryside where they spent their honeymoon. He remembered it as a place of 'wood, fir-trees, solitude. The moon behind the forest. The pig in the sty, the horse behind the window, in the fields. The sky lilac.' Though an idyllic scene, the figure seems oddly isolated. This may relate to the fact that Chagall painted it during the First World War, a conflict then being fought on Russian soil.

August 2004