Visual Judaica: Jewish Icons and Collecting Patterns in the early 20th century
Shir Gal Kochavi, The Magnes, UC Berkeley
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The highly decorative works of Arthur Szyk contain key Jewish visual elements such as the Lion of Judah, the dove, and the seven spices mentioned in the bible as typical of the Land of Israel. These themes are repeated in Szyk’s oeuvre throughout his life and can be found in his early pieces (Book of Esther, 1925) as well as in later ones (Pathways Through the Bible, 1946). In this talk, we will explore the context in which Szyk was exposed to Jewish ceremonial objects with similar imagery and we will examine items that existed in European collections in the early twentieth century that inspired Szyk’s celebrated creations.
Shir Gal Kochavi has been working as assistant curator at The Magnes for over a year. Before joining The Magnes, she worked and volunteered as researcher in art institutions in California, Israel and the UK. Shir recently received her PhD from the University of Leeds, UK (2017). She holds a MA in The History of Business of Art and Collecting, from the Institute D’Etudes Superieures des Arts, Paris (2008) and a second MA in Law Studies from the Bar Ilan University, Israel (2012).