At the time Les amoureux au-dessus de la ville was painted, Marc Chagall was a highly respected and commercially successful artist. He travelled the world with is second wife, Vava. He was invited to lecture at The University of Chicago, where he spoke about his life, his art and his means of self-expression. He received honorary degrees from the University of Glasgow and Brandeis University, and was made honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the European Foundation for culture awarded him the Erasmus Prize. Yet for all his cosmopolitanism, Chagall never lost sight of his Russian roots and celebrated his heritage in every work produced.
In the artist's earlier paintings Vitebsk, his childhood home, takes centre stage. Characterised by a fervent harking back to Russian life, the works from his first years in Paris are yoked to a certain melancholy and longing for the life he had led in Vitebsk as a young boy. In the present gouache Vitebsk is now joyously depicted beneath lively figures reminiscent of the folk art and icons of his native land. The sorrow is gone, and the entire mise en scène is presented with a theatricality of gesture and a great boldness of vision. The marriage couple rises above the scene, dominating the picture plane, to the accompaniment of the musician's ballads.
Farmyard animals also count among the elements that reappear in Chagall's oeuvre, and likewise refer back to his childhood experiences. As Aleksander Kamensky has commented, 'As in folk tales, animals have the same rights as man. Moreover, in following his creative impulses the painter touched on the very foundations of existence in which everything is united in a marvellous pantheistic universality...' (A. Kamensky, Chagall, The Russian Years 1907-1922, London and New York, 1989, p.89-92).