Ars Judaica: The Bar-Ilan Journal of Jewish Art, Volume 13

BookArs Judaica: The Bar-Ilan Journal of Jewish Art, Volume 13

Ars Judaica: The Bar-Ilan Journal of Jewish Art, Volume 13

The Michael J. Floersheim Memorial for Jewish Art

Ars Judaica: The Bar-Ilan Journal of Jewish Art, 13


May 31st, 2017





Following current developments in contemporary art history, historians of Jewish art increasingly redefine themselves as studying Jewish visual culture and also distance themselves from any single definition of ‘Jewish’. Focusing instead on the range and flexibility of both individual and collective Jewish self-identification, the trend today is to consider artistic creativity, messages, and reception in multiple intracultural settings.

Reflecting this trend, the volume presents a round-table discussion and selected papers from Constructing and Deconstructing Jewish Art, an international symposium held at Bar-Ilan University in 2015. Accordingly, Steven Fine questions the role of ideologies and the limits of semantic analysis in contemporary readings of ancient Jewish art. Sergey Kravtsov traces the transmission of legends about the Jewish past through cultures and artistic practices. Larry Silver proposes that in modern societies, all artists of Jewish origin are marked by their Jewishness and develop a minority self-consciousness. Ben Schachter notes how criticism of religious art has neglected the material and artistic process and focused only on spirituality and theology. Kathrin Pieren discusses the role of public displays in negotiating the relationship between art and identities. The volume also includes two articles on the effects of displacement on the art of twentieth-century Jewish artists of Russian origin; description of a forgotten masterpiece by Hermann Struck; and book reviews.

Ars Judaica is an annual publication of the Department of Jewish Art at Bar-Ilan University. It showcases the Jewish contribution to the visual arts and architecture from antiquity to the present from a variety of perspectives, including history, iconography, semiotics, psychology, sociology, and folklore. As such it is a valuable resource for art historians, collectors, curators, and all those interested in the visual arts.

Contributors: Ziva Amishai-Maisels, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Maya Balakirsky Katz, Touro College, New York, Samantha Baskind, Cleveland State University, Asher Biemann, University of Virginia, Monika Czekanowska-Gutman, University of Warsaw, Marina Dmitrieva, Leibniz-Institut für Geschichte und Kultur des Östlichen Europa, Leipzig, Steven Fine, Yeshiva University, New York, Eva Frojmovich, University of Leeds, Batsheva Goldman-Ida, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, William L. Gross, collector, Tel Aviv, Felicitas Heiman-Jelinek, independent scholar and curator, Vienna, Ahuva Klein, independent researcher, Tel Aviv, Rudolf Klein, Szent István University, Budapest, Lola Kantor Kazovsky, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Katrin Kogman-Appel, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster, Sergey R. Kravtsov, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Shulamit Laderman, Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, Irit Miller, University of Haifa, Kathrin Pieren, University of Southampton, Mirjam Rajner, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Ilia Rodov, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Ben Schachter, Saint Vincent College, Pennsylvania, Larry Silver, University of Pennsylvania, Daniel Sperber, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Annette Weber, Hochschule für Jüdische Studien, Heidelberg, Gil Weissblei, National Library of Israel, Jerusalem, Bracha Yaniv, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan

Volumes of Ars Judaica are distributed by the Littman Library of Jewish Civilization throughout the world, except Israel. Orders and enquiries from Israeli customers should be directed to:

Ars Judaica

Department of Jewish Art

Bar-Ilan University

Ramat-Gan 52900

telephone 03 5318413

fax 03 6359241


Author Information

Ilia Rodov is Head of the Department of Jewish Art at Bar-Ilan University. He is the author of many works on European synagogue art, focusing on the history, patronage, and meanings of synagogue paintings, sculptures, architectural decoration, and furniture design. Sara Offenberg is Lecturer in the Jewish Art Department at Bar-Ilan University. She published articles and a book on Jewish-Christian relations in art and literature, the image of the Jew in Christian art and literature, Hasidei Ashkenaz, Piyyut Commentary, and Hebrew illuminated prayer books. Mirjam Rajner is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Jewish Art at Bar-Ilan University. Since 2005 she has been co-editor of Ars Judaica, the leading journal on Jewish art and visual culture. She has published numerous articles on Marc Chagall and modern central and east European Jewish art in exhibition catalogues, edited volumes, and academic journals, such as East European Jewish Studies, Images, Jewish Art, Nashim, Studia Rosenthaliana, and Studies in Contemporary Jewry. She is the author of Fragile Images: Jews and Art in Yugoslavia,1918–1945 (2019), and is currently co-editing a collection of articles entitled Crossing Borders: Jewish History and Culture in Southeastern Europe.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
Symposium: Constructing and Deconstructing Jewish Art
1. The Round Table Discussion
2. From Synagogue Furnishing to Media Event: The Magdala Ashlar
Steven Fine
3. Polish-Jewish Discourse in Art History: Standpoints, Objectives, Methodologies
Sergey R. Kravtsov
4. Jewish Art and Modernity
5. Contemporary Jewish Art Criticism
Ben Schachter
The Role of Exhibitions in the Definition of Jewish Art and the Discourse on Jewish Identity
Kathrin Pieren
6. In Search for a New Jewish Art: Leonid Pasternak in Jerusalem
Gil Weissblei
7. Evacuation Amination: Jewish Geographies and Sindbad the Sailor in Crimea
Maya Balakirsky Katz
Special Item
The Wanderings of Hermann Struck's 'Ahasver'
Mirjam Rajner and Ahuva Klein
Book Reviews
Elana Shapira, Style and Seduction: Jewish Patrons, Architecture, and Design in Fin de Siècle Vienna
Asher Biemann
Carol Zemel, Looking Jewish
Samantha Baskind
Lola Kantor-Kazobsky, Grobman (in Russian)
Marina Dmitrieva