Curators Francesco Spagnolo and Shir Kochavi present insights and connections emerging from the holdings of UC Berkeley’s Magnes Collection, one of the largest Jewish museum collections in the world. Zooming In: Pièces de Résistance: Echoes of Judaea Capta From Ancient Coins to Modern Art reflects on the Fall, 2018 exhibition Pièces de Résistance, and highlights how it will be revisited, along with other Magnes exhibitions from the last decade in the context of Time Capsules, a new exhibition opening to the public in the Fall.
Notions of resistance, alongside fears and realities of oppression, resound throughout Jewish history. As a minority, Jews express their political aspirations, ideals of heroism, and yearnings for retaliation and redemption in their rituals, art, and everyday life. Centering on research by Rebecca Levitan, a graduate student in History of Art, on coins in The Magnes Collection, Pièces de Résistance explored how the Jewish revolts against Hellenism and the Roman occupation of Palestine (Judaea Capta) echo from antiquity into the present, highlighting collection items ranging from ancient coins and their replicas to ritual objects for Purim and Hanukkah. The exhibition also prominently featured art by Marc Chagall, Lazar Krestin, and Arthur Szyk that offer a modern visual representation of Jewish might in the face of persecution.
For this last webinar, our curators will be joined by Rebecca Levitan, a doctoral candidate in History of Art at UC Berkeley and a current fellow at the American Academy in Rome. Rebecca’s research on the coin collection of The Magnes was at the center of Pièces de Résistance.