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  • Author or Editor: Monika Czekanowska-Gutman x
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In: Reclaiming Biblical Heroines
In: Reclaiming Biblical Heroines
In: Reclaiming Biblical Heroines
In: Reclaiming Biblical Heroines
In: Reclaiming Biblical Heroines

Abstract

This essay explores the Pietàs by Jacob Steinhardt, an Eastern-European Jewish artist, in connection with his involvement in the Pathetiker movement. The paper proceeds to examine them against the backdrop of German and Austrian Expressionist movements, as well as other treatments of the theme by Jewish artists. Through stylistic and iconographic analysis of Steinhardt’s Pietàs, Czekanowska-Gutman demonstrates that both of the works in question are in fact revisions of one of the most important Christian iconographic “framing themes,” which Steinhardt situates within the Jewish context and perspective. The central argument of the paper is that Steinhardt’s Pietàs address Christian audiences in their own representational conventions in order to denounce anti-Jewish violence, such as the pogroms of the time. The artist achieves this through the portrayal of Jesus and Mary as elderly Eastern European Jews (Ostjuden), using—remarkably—the visual language of anti-Jewish caricature. Finally, the paper investigates Steinhardt’s masterful use of drypoint and woodcutting techniques to visualise the suffering of Mary and her dying son.

In: IMAGES
Portrayals of Judith, Esther and the Shulamite in Early Twentieth-Century Jewish Art
Although recently more studies have been devoted to the representations of Biblical heroines in modern European art, less is known about the contribution to the portrayals of Biblical women by modern Jewish artists. This monograph explores why and how heroines of the Scripture: Judith, Esther and the Shulamite received a particular meaning for acculturated Jewish artists originating from the Polish lands in the last decades of the nineteenth century and the first two decades of the twentieth century. It convincingly proves that artworks by Maurycy Gottlieb, Wilhem Wachtel, Ephraim Moses Lilien, Maurycy Minkowski, Samuel Hirszenberg and Boris Schatz significantly differed from renderings of contemporary non-Jewish artists, adopting a “Jewish perspective”, creating complex and psychological portrayals of the heroines inspired by Jewish literature and as well as by historical and cultural phenomena of Jewish revival and the cultural Zionism movement.

Abstract

Akedat Yitzhak (The Binding of Isaac) is one of the most powerful and yet horrifying narratives of the Hebrew Bible, describing a sacrifice which was ultimately not performed, as Isaac was not slaughtered. However, over the centuries Jewish exegesis developed a controversial tradition in which Isaac was in fact sacrificed. This paper traces this tradition from Midrashic texts through Hebrew Crusade narratives into works by modern Jewish artists. The latter offer depictions of the divergent interpretation of the Akedah in the context of the Shoah (Marc Chagall) and in the context of Arab-Israeli conflict in the Land of Israel (Abel Pann). Discussing the complex treatment of the actual sacrifice in modern Jewish culture, the paper demonstrates how these artists engaged with an actual sacrifice at different stages of their artistic career as a way of depicting trauma either on the national or personal level.

In: Religion and the Arts