Party Animals: The Myth & Magic of Marc Chagall

By Turner, Dianne | School Arts, September 1996 | Go to article overview

Party Animals: The Myth & Magic of Marc Chagall


Turner, Dianne, School Arts


Many art educators associate the artist Marc Chagall with the rather well-known work I and the Village and use the piece frequently in their teaching. However, much of Chagall's art is filled with symbolic imagery and can be used to inspire students to incorporate fantasy into their own work. The use of Chagall-inspired animals and floating figures fueled this first grade project.

Expressing Feelings through Art

I introduced the subject by describing Chagall's development as an artist. Then, I displayed reproductions of Chagall's paintings, including works depicting his feelings for his wife as well as works depicting mythical animals. The students learned that Chagall used animals to represent his feelings about events that were close to his heart.

After a presentation of different examples of Chagall's work, the students turned their attention to their own pets. We discussed how their pets might behave if they were dressed like humans and surprised at a birthday party. The discussion expanded to include how any type of farm or wild animal might behave in the same situation.

Preparing for Production

Following the discussion, the students chose one animal that they wanted to see have a birthday party. I encouraged the students to dress up the animal and give it human characteristics, as Chagall did with his animal depictions. I asked them to also consider the birthday cake, decorations, guests, and games that would take place.

To create the party for an animal, I gave each student the following materials: two 9 x 12" (23 x 31 cm) pieces of different colored construction paper, one piece of 12 x 18" (31 x 46 cm) colored construction paper, a pair of scissors, a glue stick, crayons, colored markers, and glitter. …

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