Articles in Category: Jewish Art Primer

Jewish Art Primer

A Jewish Art Primer | Part 1

Written on June 20, 2006

Miscellany Aaron Lighting

Jewish Art: Any cultural production that utilizes Jewish subject matter and content drawn from; 1) all material found in Jewish sacred texts and those secular texts that explore Jewish social life and history, 2) Jewish history, from Antiquity to the present, as well as Jewish ritual, music and synagogue architecture.  And it begins with Dura Europos.  Mosaics and Murals in Antiquity. 

A Jewish Art Primer | Part 2

Written on June 20, 2006

Pour Out Your Wrath

Books to Papercuts

Seldom has a people’s cultural expression changed in so short a period of time as the revolution that overtook the Jews with the invention of moveable type and the printed book. Johannes Guttenberg’s invention in the 1450’s quickly swept south and the first Hebrew book, the Aruch, a lexicon for Talmudic study, was printed in Italy in 1470. The illuminated Hebrew manuscript was obsolete within a generation and was replaced by the printed book. The hand had been supplanted by the press.

A Jewish Art Primer | Part 3

Written on June 20, 2006


The Past and Future Collide

As the Enlightenment marched across Europe in the form of the Napoleonic conquests the effects on Jewish Art were unmistakable. Ghetto walls were breached and torn down exposing the Jewish population and its artists to a myriad of Christian and secular influences. While traditional Judaica continued to be fashioned by artisans, synagogues ornamented and books and Haggadahs illustrated, many Jewish artists now became aware of another kind of artistic expression; the art object itself. Painting became a legitimate mode of Jewish cultural expression. In this outburst of artistic freedom Moritz Oppenheim (1800-1882) is the undisputed father of Jewish painting in the nineteenth century.

A Jewish Art Primer | Part 4

Written on June 20, 2006


The New Age of Individuals

Contemporary Jewish life has been dominated by the crisis of the Modern, shaping more than anything else the profiles of Jewish Art. Traditional society is challenged, pre-modern peoples are forced into colonial empires and nationalist aspirations spout across the globe. And nowhere else has the turmoil been more apparent than in the rebirth of Palestine. Jewish Art as a national cultural expression was reborn in the Land of Israel in the early years of the 20th century. The goal of many of these immigrant artists was to create a visual expression of the Jewish people finally ensconced in their land.

A Jewish Art Primer | Part 5

Written on June 20, 2006

Shahn B

After the Catastrophe

The Holocaust, dominating Jewish Art for much of the late 20th century, is arguably the first form of Jewish Art to penetrate the mainstream cultural dialogue. The division between Jew and non-Jew in the arts begins to be erased. This unique event aimed at the destruction of the Jews quickly became the universal symbol of intolerance, hatred and racism for modern culture.

A Jewish Art Primer | Part 6

Written on June 20, 2006

Kitaj Jewish Rider

Contemporary Jewish Art

We have documented eighteen hundred years of Jewish Art production in the preceding five sections of the Jewish Art Primer. These artworks are rich and varied creative expressions of Jewish life found in mosaics, murals, manuscripts, illustrated Haggadahs, micrography, papercuts, graphic arts and paintings. Contemporary Jewish Art, easily as vital, may be the most prolific in all of Jewish history. It is characterized by a number of different modes of Jewish artistic production: Traditional Judaica; Biblical art, Diaspora / Postmodern art and Holocaust art (which we examined in Part V).