Follow Your Heart When Making Art: Chagall’s Paris Opera Ceiling

My husband and I visited Paris for the first time during an October eons ago where it proceeded to pour rain for the entire week. Undaunted, we worked our way through a hefty ‘must see’ list which included Chagall’s painted ceiling at the famous Paris Opera House. We arrived, soaked and chilled, propelled by memories of Phantom of the Opera we’d seen years before.

Opera House foyer

Unable to afford the premium tickets that would take us to the performance hall to see the famous work of art, we shadowed an English tour to learn what we could about the monument. As the tour entered a side door we followed, unnoticed, with no idea of where we were headed. This is the sight that greeted us:


Imagine our surprise. We were speechless in the midst of one of the most breathtaking works of art I’d ever seen, Chagall’s famous Paris Opera ceiling. Its beauty brought tears to my eyes.

“When Matisse dies,” Picasso said, “Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what color really is.” To see this painting one can’t help but understand what Picasso meant. The colors are so vibrant they seem to glow. You might have no trouble convincing yourself that what you see is really a HD cinematic trick, but you’d be wrong. As my heart filled with joy my head was busy trying to puzzle it out. How could Chagall have taken something so ordinary like paint (440lbs worth) and turned it into something so extraordinary?  Yet I imagine a master like Chagall didn’t waste much time over thinking the artistic process. He understood that our head inhibits creativity. I’m endeavoring to make this quote by Chagall my mantra.

FB chagall quote

As we strive to reframe our fear of the blank page and let go of perfectionism, who better than Chagall to encourage us to follow our heart when making art?


One thought on “Follow Your Heart When Making Art: Chagall’s Paris Opera Ceiling

  1. Wow! What beauty! Thanks for sharing such a beautiful, personal experience and the so beneficial sentiment expressed by Chagall’s quote. I’ll take it with me as I create today! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s