Allegory of Wealth by Simon Vouet

Wealth by Simon Vouet baroque masterpiece painting allegory

Allegories bring big ideas down to earth. Simon Vouet’s allegory of Wealth painting gives a grand example of this at work. Baroque painters, such as Vouet, reveled in allegory. They swam in it, like Scrooge McDuck with his pool of gold coins.

The Flea by Guiseppe Crespi

Guiseppe Maria Crespi-the_flea18th century Italian masterpiece

The Flea by Guiseppe Crespi tells a story without revealing the main character. We only see the reaction to the flea, not the pest itself. This intimate portrait from 18th century Italy depicts virtue.

Venus Lamenting the Death of Adonis by Benjamin West

venus Lamenting the Death of Adonis

Venus Lamenting the Death of Adonis by Benjamin West tells an ancient story. The beloved goddess Venus fell hard for heartthrob hottie Adonis. But it was not meant to be. In fact, she knew his destiny for an early death on the hunt. No matter how much Venus warned him and pleaded, Adonis dismissed her.

The Wedding by Fernand Leger

The Wedding - Fernand-Lege

Cubism learned a lesson or two when Fernand Leger’s The Wedding hit. In fact, many art historians joke that this painting introduced Tubism. That’s because reality curves into tubes in this remarkable work. As abstract as it is, we know what it’s like at this wedding.

Siren in Full Moonlight by Paul Delveux


This painting, Siren in Full Moonlight, debuted in 1940, as yet another Delveux nude. Belgian painter Paul Delveux took a lot of heat for his naked sirens. But nudity’s a mere footnote to their alien features. These are not women. Does their unclothed status even matter? They appear unreal..

The Rooster by Marc Chagall

Marc Chagall The Rooster - Oil on Canvas 1929

Marc Chagall’s magical paintings evoke dreams and other worldy love. So, it’s no surprise many, like The Rooster, get misinterpreted. Love serves as the ultimate mystery of human life. Chagall’s paintings show a childlike point of view. This reminds viewers, love brings out the kid in us. Like this one, my personal fav by Marc Chagall, The Rooster. At first glance, it could portray a carousel carnival ride. Love sometimes feels like that, with strange pairings going up and down in circles.

Many Chagall paintings share this dreamy quality. Sometimes it’s even childlike. His subjects bend and twist unlike real beings. They share a surreal vision that draws the viewer into another time and place. Falling into paintings such as this can open your mind if you let it. Like a game of free association, it arouses whimsy. The Rooster means one thing in a farmyard or coop. But tangible reality’s left behind in a Chagall.

A cock plays a certain role in the chicken coop. He’s in charge. But this one’s dominated. Chagall gives this Rooster the title role in more than just naming the piece. He takes up most of the canvas. So, although submissive, The Rooster still plays a main character here. It’s a painting about love. Big love. This bird seems to be bursting with it. He struts with a proud tail flourish. No doubt thanks to the warm embrace about his neck.

Even though it’s a fresh young take on love, this painting resonates deep. It only appears to be simple. The bird has that effect. He’s almost silly at that elephantine size. After all, a rooster you can ride makes this feel like an amusement park. It’s got a jubilance thanks to that. Love flows through this work like the lake water in its background. It’s almost imperceptible yet still undeniable.

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Marc Chagall, The Rooster reminds us that love comes in many forms. It’s easy to conclude that the work’s three pairs of lovers signify the different types of love. One could read the centerpiece rooster as hot-to-trot flamboyance. Or the viewer could zoom in on the cuddling couple in the boat and project all sorts of salacious stories on them. There’s also the tiny pair peeking out from behind the lady’s foot. Our feet are such a familiar and intimate part of us. Perhaps these two perched upon one signify familial love.

Marc Chagall – The Rooster

The Rooster – Not Just a Cock

In fact, many art historians believe the rooster and lady are a sexual union of sorts. But this couple actually shows us the ultimate supportive relationship. Even if she mounts the cock in a meaningful manner, it’s not only about mere sex. The Rooster carries his lady while she gives him a luscious embrace. It’s a warm portrait of enduring love. The smile on her face is pure happiness, not just sexual ecstasy. This lasts longer than date night and satisfies on a deeper level. It’s real love. Sex plays a role in such relationships. However, it’s not even close to the whole story in the most significant ones.

Marc Chagall – Factoids

  • Russian-French painter Marc Chagall was born on July 7, 1887, in Vitebsk, Russia.
  • His painting La Mariée, French for The Bride, played a pivotal role in the movie Notting Hill.
  • Chagall studied painting at an elite art school in Russia.
  • But it was Paris that inspired his best work, including The Rooster.
  • That’s where he fell in love with Fauvism and Cubism.
  • Marc Chagall’s work provides a perfect example of Expressionism.
  • His work conveys emotion with moving and surprising technique.


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