Ars Judaica: The Bar Ilan Journal of Jewish Art

The Wandering Jew in Czech Fine Art: Anti-Semitism, Empathy, Self-Identification

Ars Judaica: The Bar Ilan Journal of Jewish Art (1970), 15, (1), 47–70.

Abstract

Although in German-speaking countries the earliest visual representations of Ahasver stem from the seventeenth century, we find the first depictions of the Wandering Jew in Czech fine art only in the nineteenth century. It is a complex subject reflecting Christian–Jewish relations which has not yet been sufficiently addressed in Czech art history. Initially fueled by anti-Semitic excesses at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and especially during World War II, the Ahasverian theme continued to appear throughout the twentieth century. At the beginning of the twenty-first century Czech artists are still attracted to this iconographic motif. The article analyzes the development of this motif in Czech visual culture and sheds some light on its appearance in Czech art created by artists of Jewish origin.

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Author details

Janáčová, Eva