Memory of my Youth, 1924
oil on canvas
73.8 x 86.3 cm
Gift of an anonymous donor, 1970
National Gallery of Canada (no. 16623)
© Estate of Marc Chagall / ADAGP (Paris) / SODRAC (Montréal)
The white European goat was a common domestic animal in Jewish towns like Vitebsk (Belarus), Russia, where Marc Chagall grew up. The richly painted tactile surface of the goat reveals Chagall's familiarity with these animals; its large scale and centrality in this composition suggest the retrospective view of a little child. Chagall painted "Memory of My Youth" shortly after leaving the Soviet Union in 1922, and he writes, "In my pictures there is not one centimetre free from nostalgia for my native land."