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Famous Jewish Art

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Art have always be considered a major factor in terms of society evolution and development. Since the beginning of worlds, all civilizations expressed some kind of art, each one customizing the process or the final result according to its beliefs of experiences.

The Jewish art has flourished in the second part of the 18th century and since then the number of artists and popular artworks has increased on a constant basis. Having a look over the Jewish art timeline, you can observe that all its existence can be divided into 5 major time periods, each one dominated by a cultural movement and manifest.

  • The Impressionism Root
  • Avant-garde Period
  • War Slavery
  • After War Reconciliation
  • Modern Art

The Impressionism Root

Into this period, the Jewish art started to shape itself and become alive. Painters, like Moritz Daniel Oppenhein and Jan Matejko, and sculptors, like Mark Antokolsky, are some of the first ever known Jewish artists that established the bases of, what would become one of the most important art sections in the modern world, the Jewish art.

Avant-garde Period

The blossoming process in which the Jewish art has entered didn’t last, unfortunately, for very long.

Starting with the 19th century, the depreciation and despite towards Jewish has increased into the leading societies, and the art has started to feel severe repercussions upon this fact.

During this period, only a few works are to be known as highly valuable. Among them we can state the following:

  • The Steerage
  • The Jewess
  • The Writer An-sky Reading The Dybbuk in the Home of Stiebel
  • Had Gadya
  • Invocation

War Slavery

Having already their image underappreciated, the era that was to follow has been the one with the least state-of-arts.

A truly important survivor of this timeframe and a fighter for the Jewish art resurrection was Reuven Rubin, one of the first Israli artists recognized by the international community.

Born in Romania and with studies in Paris, France, his paintings were for a tremendous beauty and convergence. Probably the most important is called Jerusalem, simply called after the painting idea, a panoramic view of the city.

After War Reconciliation

Surviving under very harsh circumstances after the Second World War, the artistic, cultural and social values of the Jews were ripped apart.

The only salvation could come from highly intelligent Jews. People like Mark Rothko succeeded entering in the international world order, and imposed their beliefs and ideologies into the worldwide society.

Having an Abstract Expressionist movement inside their society, the concepts and principles of this manifest were deeply imprinted in each person’s mind. Thus, imposing the cultural and social movement into the worldwide community, the respect, trustiness and consideration was almost regained.

Modern Art

Nowadays, the Jewish art is considered to be of a unique beauty and complexity, one that not many people can understand its principles and concepts.

Among famous personalities and entertainment stars, one person must necessary be mentioned. Declared “the world’s greatest living sculptor”, Richard Serra is one of the most valuable people alive in the 21st century.

The Umberto Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art

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The Umberto Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art was founded in 1983 in order to preserve, collect and display objects and traditions of Jewish people who lived in Italy from the Renaissance period through present.

The Umberto Nahon Museum’s Collection

Despite the fact that Jewish culture has been active in Italy’s history for more than 2000 years, the most intense period when Jews had the biggest impact was between 15th century until the 20th century when more and more objects and decorations were made with Jewish contents. Our website www.jija.org presents the most important and common occupations of Jewish people from Italy. These occupations are presented more specific at The Umberto Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art:

  • Metalwork;
  • Textiles;
  • Woodwork;
  • Manuscripts and Prints;
  • Miscellaneous;

Metalwork

During the 17th century, the silver objects production was the most developed occupation. Because of the fact that most Jewish people from Italy were very rich, they ordered a lot of silver artifacts to non-Jewish artists, as known as Christian silversmiths.  The Jewish goldsmiths from Rome had very restrictive measures because of the Papal protocols, while the Jewish silversmiths were allowed to practice their job at the beginning of the 18th century.

The Jewish metalwork style, even if it was made by a Jew or by a Christian silversmith, was reflecting the Baroque or the Rocco style in a very original and illusionistic way.

One of the most common trademarks of Italian Jewish people was the insertion of separate golden ornaments. This special method of metalworking is present in a lot of masterpieces like The Tablets of Law, The Holy Ark, The High Priest’s Mitre, The Incense Altar, The Fire Altar, The Menorah, A Censer, A Levitical Ewer, A priestly Garment.

Textiles

Most of the city – states from Italy were the most popular producers of high quality textiles in the 17th century. That’s why the textile industry was one of the most common occupations for Jewish people from Italy. Furthermore, this occupation was one of the few Jewish figurative arts which Jewish people from Italy were free to practice during the medieval period.

The most common embroiderers, which can be seen at The Umberto Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art too are: Parokhet, Mappah(Thorah cover), The Olivetti – Montefiore Torah Curtain, Torah Mantle.

Woodwork

During the medieval period, all the Italian synagogues were built by the most common and used material available at that moment: the wood. The interior was entirely covered with wood, all the walls were carved in wood, the benches were made of wood.

In comparison with the textile industry, there were few Jews who mastered the art of woodcarving.

Manuscripts and Prints

The Umberto Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art includes hundreds of texts written Jewish people who lived in Italy. The most of them are extraordinarily decorated.

 

Jewish culture

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Our site, www.jija.org promotes Jewish culture, traditions and history.

The BCE (Before Christ Existed) period

As a religion, Judaism appears the first time in a Greek record from the Hellenistic period (323 BCE – 31 BCE). The first mention of Israel appears is inscribed in Merneptah Stele,  dated in 1213 – 1203 BCE.

In the period 1050 – 1000 BCE , Jerusalem was captured by David, the one who  became the founder of the kingdom of Israel. Judah was the kingdom’s capital.

Few years before David’s invasion, the most important and sacred Jewish object, the Ark of the Covenant (the Ark of the Covenant was a portable shrine containing the Tablets of the Law that the prophet Moses received from God on the Sinai Mountain), was moved out of Jerusalem. Few years later, around 955 BCE, the Ark of the Covenant was moved back to Jerusalem.

Solomon, David’s son built the first temple in Jerusalem in 957 BCE but soon after, the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar the 2nd, destroyed the temple and the Jewish people were moved into exile and all their treasures were stolen.

In 539 BCE, Babylon was conquered by Cyrus of Persia. Cyrus allowed to all the Jewish people from exile to return home, in Jerusalem and started to build a new temple. However, the Ark of the Covenant disappeared during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar.

In order to confirm the freedom deprivation that Jewish people suffered in their history, during the next centuries, Jerusalem was captured by Alexander the Great and by Egyptians and Seleucid empires.

In 65 BCE, Pompey, the Roman general, conquered Jerusalem and set up the Roman rules.

 Between the 1300 and 1600 CE, during the Classical Ottoman period, the Jewish people enjoyed more freedom and a huge level of prosperity.

Europe settling

Starting with the 17th century, more and more Jews started travelling and settling in Europe. Jewish people started to emphasize on other objectives like science, economy and philosophy and many of them became famous, some of them winning Nobel Prizes in various domains:

  • Chemistry: 36 prize winners;
  • Economics: 30 prize winners;
  • Literature: 15 prize winners;
  • Peace: 9 prize winners;
  • Physics: 52 prize winners;
  • Physiology or Medicine: 55 prize winners.

Holocaust

In 1939, The World War II began and Hitler settled a lot of anti-Semitic laws with the main objective of exterminating the races considered by him to be inferior, races like: Jewish people and gypsies.  After occupying Poland, in 1941, 3 million Jews were exterminated in gas chambers, 1 million of them being killed in only one concentration camp, in Auschwitz. During the Holocaust or Shoah (in Hebrew language), approximately 6 million Jews were exterminated.

Jewish state nowadays

On 14th of May, 1948, David Ben – Gurion proclaimed the estabilishment of Jewish state in the State of Israel. Today, in 2017, Israel is a democratic country with a population of 8.059 million people, 6 million of them being Jewish people.

 

Jew’s Inventions

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During our modern day society formation, inventions and discoveries have played a crucial role in the development of the community. Leaving apart the religious background, considered by most people an individual concept imprisoned in each person’s mind depending on his beliefs, the Jewish population is well-known around the world as a very intelligent society, with high moral and cultural standards.

Being underappreciated for a long period of time gave Jews the necessary “gate” to meditate and plan a huge comeback. Discovering new ideas, processes and technologies contributed in a huge proportion to the modern well-being of our lives and in the creation of all modern art beauties.

www.jija.org platform has specially created this page in order to offer a tribute to the most important persons, whose inventions and discoveries stands nowadays at the base of modern art technologies.

1.Google

Founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, both Jewish founders, this modern company that controls 99% of the Internet content is the most important invention that has the Jewish society principles.

Even the motto: “Don’t be evil” has its roots into the calm and pacifist beliefs of Jewish conceptions.

2.Capitalism

Wheatear you accept it or not, the capitalism economic system was created and funded by a Jew. Benefiting of a favorite background consisting in the decade and depreciation of the feudalism, in the 15th century, the newly designed system flourished in a very short period of time and it has been accepted by all major societies from all around the world.

Regardless the fact that capitalism is attributed to Karl Marx, the first ever occurrence of this newly system was found in the works of David Ricardo, Jean-Baptiste Say and John Stuart Mill (Jew), classical political economists.

3.Nuclear Weapons

In the race of creating and owning the most powerful weapon, one invention stands out as a true game-changer: nuclear weapons.

The fathers of this massive arsenal, Robert Oppenheimer and Edward Teller (Jew), discovered the massive amount of energy released by a nuclear fusion in the first part of the 19th century.

After the first bomb detonation, in July 16, 1945, all high influence countries in the world, like SUA, France, England, Germany, China, Israel, started building their own nuclear weapon.

Since that moment, the face of war has changed radically. The classic battlefield fights have been replaced with the cold terror of atomic bomb detonations and improvements on this weaponry have not chased to come.

4.Vaccines

The inventions in the medical field couldn’t miss this classification. During the most dangerous and infectious periods of time, the main vaccines that helped in the recovery of millions of diseases were all invented by Jews.

Only stating 3 of them, you can create a very good idea about the massive implications that this community had to our nowadays environment. The most important and well-known vaccines are:

  • Cholera Vaccine
  • Bubonic Vaccine
  • Polio Vaccine