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Antique Jewish art visualized the idea that the essence of God is beyond the world of forms. In the Bible, the Israelites were commanded to build sanctuaries without cult statues. Following the destruction of the Second Temple, Jews turned to literary and visual aids to fill the void. In this accessible survey, Shulamit Laderman traces the visualizations of the Tabernacle implements, including the seven-branch menorah, the Torah ark, the shofar, the four species, and other motifs associated with the Hebrew Bible and the Jewish calendar. These motifs evolved into iconographic symbols visualized in a range of media, including coins, funerary art, and synagogue decorations in both Israel and the Diaspora. Particular attention is given to important discoveries such as the frescoes of the third-century CE synagogue in Dura-Europos, mosaic floors in synagogues in Galilee, and architectural and carved motifs that decorated burial places.
Imagination in Renaissance Art and Theory from Botticelli to Michelangelo
Did the Florentine philosopher Marsilio Ficino (1433-99) influence the art of his time? Art historians have been fiercely debating this question for decades. This book starts with Ficino’s views on the imagination as a faculty of the soul, and shows how these ideas were part of a long philosophical tradition and inspired fresh insights. This approach, combined with little known historical material, offers a new understanding of whether, how and why Ficino’s Platonic conceptions of the imagination may have been received in the art of the Italian Renaissance. The discussion explores Ficino’s possible influence on the work of Botticelli and Michelangelo, and examines the appropriation of Ficino’s ideas by early modern art theorists.