THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE JEWISH ART
- SIGNIFICANCE OF ART AMONGST THE JEWS AND ISRAELI CULTURE
The Jews are an artistic people, beginning famously with the great Betzalel, who understood how to connect his artworks to their Divine Source in the construction of the Tabernacle. Since then, art has been a pastime and often profession of many famous Jewish figures, including Marc Chagall, Leon Bakst, Isidor Kaufman, and many others. Even at the height of the last and greatest persecution of the Jewish People during the Holocaust, Jewish artists plied their trade, mostly famously in the clandestine artwork – drawing and painting – in Theresienstad.
- ANCIENT JEWISH HISTORY
The ancient history of the Jewish People is replete with shining examples of Jewish artistic creation, from the Temples in Jerusalem to the ancient community synagogues that can still be found – some in ruins and some still standing – throughout the Jewish Diaspora. In the Israel Museum,in the Givat Ram area of Jerusalem, examples of this art from houses of worship throughout the world and from the ancient Land of Israel can be found on display in one location.
- MEDIEVAL JEWISH HISTORY
Even during the Medieval period, a time of suffering and persecution for the Jewish People at the hands of among others Crusaders, and marauding sultans and caliphs, the Jewish People produced lovingly crafted synagogues and holy books, such as the famous Sarajevo Haggadah.
- MODERN JEW HISTORY
In modern Jewish history, Jewish artists participated in the impressionist, expressionist (most famous Marc Chagall), cubist, and abstract and even pop-art periods (for example, Man Ray). During the building of the State of Israel by heavily Russian-influenced socialist ideology, so-called “socialist realism” would show happy Jewish workers and farmers building the State of Israel. Those themes have largely given way to a return to tradition, with ancient and still relevant Jewish themes and values arising from Torah sources now occupying pride of place in the Jerusalem art scene.
- HOW IS THE CONTEMPORARY ART AND ANCIENT THEMES PRESERVED BY MENUCHA PAGE?
Menucha focuses on holy books – such as the Babylonian Talmud – and the ancient Hebrew language and letters to bring out themes from Judaism and the Torah in ways that inspire and lead to contemplation – while emphasizing the esthetic beauty of the artworks. She uses decidedly contemporary echniques to achieve these goals, using mixed media including painting, drawing, plastic arts, photography on a variety of media including metal, glass, and wood to renew and reemphasize the beauty and truth that are imbued within the Jewish tradition. Each work is a labor of love for Menucha, who loses track of time as she creates her artwork in the middle of the night and throughout the day.