The Comité Chagall has confirmed the authenticity of this painting.
The imagery of Chagall's native Russian folk art and icons and the Hasidic traditions of his community in Vitebsk exerted a powerful influence over the artist and remained consistent elements in his work. A vibrant and busy work, Les musiciens is accordingly full of Chagall's own deeply personal iconography and a strange and fantastical array of characters which fills every available corner; the goat, the chicken, the floating couple above the village houses, all of these are familiar recurring elements that had an almost secret importance to Chagall. These recurrent symbols in Chagall's paintings, however, were to be understood not as pictorial subjects, but rather as 'the vital mark these early influences leave, as it were, on the handwriting of the artist' (J.J. Sweeney, 'An Interview with Marc Chagall', in Partisan Review, vol. XVI, 1949).
However, it is the musicians in the present work that provide the main focus of Chagall's imagination and who lend the painting its levity and lyricism. Musicians are frequent subjects in Chagall's work, a recurrent shorthand for love and happiness and here they play their happy tunes as the lovers float gently by above the roofs. Unusually, Chagall has introduced a singer into the group, perhaps a reminder of the folklore and traditions of the shtetl. In the background the scene has attracted several onlookers and animals that contribute to the other-worldly and fantastical theatre that Chagall has created.