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Israel Museum Catalogue = Katalog 648
Israel Museum Catalogue
Dr. Amitai Mendelsohn investigates the various appearances of the figure of Jesus in Israeli art as a significant, multifaceted and ever-present phenomenon. Through works by prominent artists from different generations, it discusses in depth the evolving attitudes of Jewish, Zionist pre-state, and Israeli art towards Jesus, from the second half of the nineteenth century until today: from artists laboring "In the shadow of the Cross" to artists who saw Jesus as a symbol of the rebirth of the Jewish people in the land of Israel, and artists whose engagement with Jesus is detached from the complex and fraught relations between Christianity and Judaism, and who see him as symbolizing the suffering artist. The book examines the different directions taken by Israeli artists in portraying the figure of Jesus, and proves the extent of this phenomena and its ever present importance.
Artists: Maurycy Gottlieb, Marc Chagall, E. M. Lilien, Reuven Rubin, Igael Tumarkin, Moshe Gershuni, Motti Mizrachi, Menashe Kadishman, Michal Na’aman, Adi Nes, and Sigalit Landau and more. From the 19th century until today, Jewish and Israeli artists have engaged with the figure of Jesus, addressing complex questions of collective and individual identity. This exhibition, the result of extensive scholarly research, presents multivalent, unexpected, and at times subversive artistic responses: European artists reclaimed Jesus as a Jew and portrayed him as a symbol of Jewish suffering, and Zionist artists used the resurrection as a metaphor for the rebirth of the Jewish homeland; some Israeli artists related to Jesus as a social rebel or misunderstood prophet, while others identified with his personal torment or his sacrifice for the sake of humanity, which they connected to more recent victims of intolerance and warfare.