San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Chagall Lithographs Take ‘Odyssey’ to Costa Rica

A copy of the Greek epic poem “The Odyssey” illustrated by Belarusan-French artist Marc Chagall is making its own odyssey to Costa Rica this month.

The 83 lithographs, created by Chagall when he was almost 90 years old, will be on display starting today through Nov. 11 at the Rafael Angel Calderón Guardia Museum in the eastern San José neighborhood of Barrio Escalante.

The traveling exhibit has already been to Nicaragua and Guatemala, and will soon journey to Honduras and Panama. Financial institution Banca Promérica is funding the free exhibit as an educational opportunity for Central Americans.

“It’s our interest to give Costa Ricans and Central Americans the opportunity to see exhibits of important and relevant art,” Mario Castillo, general manager of the bank, said in a statement. “With this free and open exhibit, we are contributing to this purpose.”

Culture Minister María Elena Carballo declared the exhibit of cultural and educational interest for the country. All ninthgraders are required to read a translation of Homer’s “The Odyssey” in Costa Rica’s public schools.

Chagall was born in Belarus at the turn of the 20th century. He settled in France after his political fortunes waned after the Russian Revolution. He and his wife, Bella Rosenfeld, both Jewish, fled to the United States during the Nazi occupation. Chagall moved back to France after his wife died. He was already over 60 and an internationally renowned artist when he began to devote most of his time to mastering the complex technique of lithography, a method for printing using a plate or stone with a completely smooth surface.

Art students at the National University (UNA) in Heredia, north of the capital, have been training for months to give tours of the exhibit. To arrange a tour, call 8817-0176.


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