Artistic treasures are plentiful in Nice. Some gems you’ll find discreetly tucked away in peaceful gardens, up craggy hillsides, and even atop ancient ruins. Others are scattered along the Mediterranean seaside. One remarkable treasure, perched high above Nice, is Cimiez Hill, a wealthy neighbourhood choc full of Belle Epoque buildings. From this extraordinary vantage point, you get wonderful views over the azure Mediterranean Sea.
At the foot of Cimiez Hill is the Musée National Marc Chagall. The museum pays homage to the talents and philanthropic generosity of the great Franco-Russian artist. It’s an extraordinary art museum and houses the largest public collection of Chagall’s works in the world. It includes seventeen masterpieces entitled The Biblical Message which Chagall donated to the French state in 1966. Chagall bestowed a staggering 250 works on the museum in 1972 and kept adding to the collection right up until his death in 1985. Other collectors have also bequeathed Chagall pieces and there have been acquisitions, purchases and loans from other art venues.
With the collaboration of Marc Chagall, the museum’s architectural design includes a large airy, polygon shaped room. It was inaugurated in 1973 in his presence. Here the first of twelve biblical interpretations are exhibited. They are inspired by the first two books of the Old Testament: Genesis and Exodus. The remaining five wall-size paintings – The Song of Songs explodes in fiery reds, telling the story of Solomon. All seventeen masterpieces render powerful spiritual and religious stories told through Marc Chagall’s artistic colour, passion, and whimsical symbols.
The Musée Marc Chagall is a favourite of mine and must see for art lovers visiting Nice. Its peaceful and light filled environment is the perfect arena to discover and enjoy the artist’s imaginative style. Several decades of Chagall’s artistic career (1903 – 1985) are exhibited here. Chagall, though born in Russia, spent much of his life in France, living and working in Paris and the south of France. He’s buried in Saint-Paul de Vence, not far from Nice.