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(Isayevich)

(b Vinnitsa, Ukraine, Dec 22, 1889; d Leningrad [now St Petersburg], Dec 12, 1970).

Russian painter, graphic artist, sculptor and designer of Ukrainian birth. He studied painting at the School of Art in Odessa (1901–7) under Kiriak Kostandi (1852–1921), at the same time attending classes in sculpture. In 1908–9 he made a series of pointillist paintings. He visited Vienna and Munich in 1910 before going to Paris, where he worked at Vasil’yeva’s Free Russian Academy until 1912, producing paintings on Jewish themes and studying Cubism. In 1912 he went to St Petersburg, where he painted a number of Cubist portraits, for example of the poet Anna Akhmatova (1914; St Petersburg, Rus. Mus.). His Cubist work makes much use of faceting and transparent planes. From 1918 to 1921 he taught at the Department of Visual Arts (IZO) of Narkompros in Petrograd, but he was criticized for his attempts to identify Futurism with the art of the proletariat. Al’tman became well known as the designer of post-Revolutionary mass parades and monuments, for example the celebration of the first anniversary of the Revolution on ...

Article

Sarit Shalev-Eyni

Thirteenth-century Ashkenazi illuminated Bible (Milan, Ambrosiana, MSS. B.30–32 INF). One of the earliest illuminated Hebrew manuscripts originating in Germany, it is a giant manuscript in three volumes, containing the twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible. As attested by a colophon at the end of the first volume, the Bible was commissioned by Joseph ben Moses from Ulmana, possibly referring to Ulm in Swabia or to Nieder-Olm in the Rhineland. The Bible was copied by Jacob ben Samuel and was massorated and vocalized by Joseph ben Kalonymus in collaboration with another masorete. The first part was completed between 1236 and 1238. The three volumes were illuminated by two artists, whose style is related to the 13th-century school of Würzburg. Illustrations with biblical scenes are located mainly within the initial word panels of the various biblical books, or at their end. Some of the illustrations carry a messianic or eschatological meaning. A broad cosmological composition occupies an opening at the end of the third volume, suggesting an impressive climax for the entire Bible. The full page miniature on the right illustrates the seven heavens, accompanied by the four animals of Ezekiel’s vision and the luminaries (fol. 135...

Article

Sergey Androssov

(Matveyevich)

(b Vil’no [now Vilnius], Lithuania, Nov 2, 1843; d Bad-Homburg, July 9, 1902).

Russian sculptor of Lithuanian birth. He was the son of an innkeeper of modest means. From 1862 he studied under Nikolay Pimenov (1812–64) as an occasional student at the Academy of Arts (Akademiya Khudozhestv) in St Petersburg. While still a student he produced two high relief sculptures, which attracted attention for their realism and which were awarded silver medals: the Jewish Tailor (wood, 1864) and The Miser (wood and ivory, 1865; both St Petersburg, Rus. Mus.). In 1871 Antokol’sky left Russia for health reasons. He worked first in Rome and then, from 1877, in Paris. He gained fame in Europe mainly through a number of monumental statues on subjects drawn from Russian history: Ivan the Terrible (marble, 1875; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.), Nestor the Chronicler (marble, 1890) and Yermak (bronze, 1891; both St Petersburg, Rus. Mus.), and also on subjects connected with the history of religion and philosophy: ...

Article

[Bronstein, Max]

(b Tuchów, Poland, July 13, 1896; d Jerusalem, June 18, 1992).

Israeli painter of Polish birth. As a young boy he greatly admired El Greco, Goya and Rembrandt. From 1920 to 1925 he studied at the Bauhaus, Weimar, under Klee, Kandinsky, Johannes Itten and Lyonel Feininger and the following year studied painting techniques at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Munich under Max Doerner. During the 1920s he changed his name from Max Bronstein to Mordecai Ardon. He taught at the Kunstschule Itten in Berlin from 1929 to 1933, when Nazi persecution forced him to flee to Jerusalem. Though he had been an active Communist in Germany, in Jerusalem he soon found a great affinity with Jewish religion and culture. In 1935 he was made a professor at the Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem, and was its Director from 1940 to 1952.

Ardon’s early paintings show the influence of Expressionism, as in Seated Woman in a Straw Chair...

Article

Ark  

Article

Ita Heinze-Greenberg

(b Berlin, March 3, 1877; d Jerusalem, Oct 25, 1930).

German architect, teacher and writer, active in Palestine . He studied architecture (1895–1901) at the Technische Hochschule, Charlottenburg, Berlin, spending one summer term at the Technische Hochschule, Munich. His student works revealed exceptional skill as a draughtsman and he won the Schinkel Medal (1906) for his design (unexecuted) of an architectural museum. In the following year he became Königlicher Regierungsbaumeister for the Prussian state, where his early work included various houses and shops and the restoration of a residential block (1908), Kaiserin–Augusta Street, all in Berlin. He also assisted the architect Ernst Ihne in the construction of the neo-Baroque Preussische Staatsbibliothek (1908–13), Berlin. In 1909 he was sent to Haifa, Palestine (now Israel), by the Jüdisches Institut für Technische Erziehung to take over the architectural design and building of the Technion, which was carried out in stages (1912–24). Sited on the slopes of Mount Carmel, near Haifa, the main building is symmetrical with an emphasis on the central entrance. Middle Eastern elements, such as the dome, the flat roof with pointed crenellations and the arcaded passages, together with symbolic Jewish forms such as the Star of David, in the sparse decoration, testify to Baerwald’s intention to create an architecture that was a synthesis of Middle-Eastern culture and Western technique. The whole complex was built in locally quarried sandstone and limestone, reflecting the architect’s preference for stone....

Article

Ron Fuchs

(b Mogilev, Russia [now Belarus’], Oct 6, 1877; d Tel Aviv, July 18, 1952).

Israeli architect of Russian birth. He graduated at the Art Academy, St Petersburg, in 1911, and practised in St Petersburg until 1921, when he settled in Palestine. After two years as chief architect of the Public Works Office of the Histadruth (the General Federation of Jewish Labour in Eretz-Israel), he set up in private practice in Tel Aviv. In his early buildings Berlin developed a highly personal vocabulary of simplified classicist ornament adapted to the simple materials and craftsmanship then available in the city. A notable example is the power station (1925), Jaffa. His most original contribution, however, was his unique use of silicate bricks, the chief building material in Tel Aviv at the period and an early product of its burgeoning industry. Leaving the brick unplastered, he created playful abstract patterns, faintly reminiscent of Expressionism and Art Deco. Examples include Berlin’s own house (1929), 59 Balfour Street, and the Moghrabi Theatre (...

Article

Rachel Hachlili

Synagogue in Hefzibah, Israel, notable for its 6th-century ad mosaic pavements. It was first excavated in 1929 by E. L. Sukenik and N. Avigad. It consisted of a courtyard, a vestibule and a main hall (27.7×14.2 m). The north façade of the hall had three entrances; on the floor adjacent to these, mosaic depictions of a lion and a bull flank two inscriptions. One, in Greek, commemorates the craftsman who laid the mosaics; the other, in Aramaic, places the date of the synagogue’s construction in the reign of Justinus (probably Justinus II, reg ad 565–78). The main hall was divided into a nave and two aisles by two rows of plastered stone pillars. The south wall of the nave ended in an apse, orientated towards Jerusalem, which housed the Ark of the Scrolls and possibly also two menorahs (ritual candlesticks). Benches were built along the east, west and south walls; a door in the western aisle led into a side room....

Article

Rachel Hachlili

[Beth She’arim]

Jewish necropolis near the town of Beth Shearim in the lower Galilee. In the early 3rd century ad the site became a noted centre of learning under the great scholar Rabbi Judah ha-Nassi (c. 135–217). His burial there made the site holy ground, and it became the chief burial place for Jews from the land of Israel and neighbouring regions. It was destroyed in ad 352. The necropolis consisted of catacombs, most of them of the 3rd and 4th centuries; they had courtyards in front and portals, with stone doors made to resemble wooden doors with nails. Each catacomb contained numerous tombs; some had several burial halls spaced out along corridors that were cut into the rock of the hillside. The tombs were mainly loculi [compartmented graves] or arcosolia [vaulted niches]. The dead were laid in arcosolia, coffins or decorated stone, marble or terracotta sarcophagi. On the walls were carved, painted or incised decorations; like those of the sarcophagi, they were in a popular style that combined Hellenistic and Oriental elements. Characteristic of the style are scenes from pagan mythology and Jewish motifs, such as the menorah, the Ark of the Scrolls and various ritual objects. Some of the catacombs belonged to one family, others were public. Burial at Beth Shearim was a commercialized public enterprise directed by a burial society, which may have sold burial places....

Article

Bible  

Don Denny, Karen Gould, M. Heinlen, Gerhard Schmidt, Nigel J. Morgan and Thérèse Metzger

Term meaning ‘the books’, derived via Latin from Greek, used to refer to the sacred writings of Judaism and Christianity. The Bible is composed of two parts: the Hebrew scriptures or Old Testament, written originally in Hebrew (with some parts in Aramaic), which consists of the writings of the Jewish people; and the New Testament, composed in Greek, which records the story of Jesus and the beginnings of Christianity. The stories, moral teachings, and theological doctrines in the Judeo-Christian Bible have provided subjects for an immense body of visual art. Although predominantly a Christian art form (see §I below), a significant body of Jewish imagery has been inspired by the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament (see §II below). For Christians, a canon of biblical books was established in the Early Christian period, although many apocryphal books continued to circulate; from the late medieval period onwards poetic and dramatic reinterpretations of biblical narratives were popular. Much of this extra-canonical literature contributed to the development of such important subjects in Christian art as the ...