Saturday in the Museum with Marc

Image: Marc Chagall, A Wheatfield on a Summer’s Afternoon (1942).

Though this piece is roughly consistent with our theme for Saturday art posts that shows where food comes from, it is also captures themes that resonate today.

Chagall, who was born in what is now Belarus but was then part of the Russian Empire, painted this as a scenery backdrop to a ballet during his six-year exile in the United States during World War II. The ballet was the story of Aleko, from the Pushkin’s poem The Gypsies with music by Tchaikovsky. In 19th century terms it was a story in the Romantic tradition with the hero killing his lover out of jealousy, but as with many things the history and traditions of two centuries ago do not survive strict scrutiny of today.

Given current events, including in Eastern Europe where wheat fields are now battlefields, there is much that could be discussed from the story and the painting, but we will zero in on the scythe raised above the wheat stalks and note the truism that you reap what you sow. This is true in the commonly referred to negative sense that bad acts will often redound upon the actor, but it also means that what you want to have in hand next year requires planting seeds today.

We would also note that because of the sustained efforts, primarily of the Disney company, the right of an artist to control their body of work now extends 70 years after death. So this work, nearly forty years after Chagall’s death and 80 years after its premiere, remains protected.


We tend to pontificate on Sundays around here, so apologies for the heavy content today. If you happen to be in town for any reason this week and are looking for a place to grab a bite, the non-pontificating purpose of this website is to help you find a great place to eat in D.C. We have 300+ recommended restaurants in the guide, that you can sort by cuisine, neighborhood, and current operating status (dine-in and/or take-out, etc.) in either LIST or MAP format.  Though operating status is changing day-to-day, so be sure to double-check.

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