Artists should not feel confined to any one method or style for restoring or including Judaism. Realistic, primitive and abstract images can all work, if effectively executed. Other artists may choose to create renditions that include both Jewish and Christian elements, as in Marc Chagall”s White Crucifixion: WikiPaintings.org/en/marc-chagall/white-crucifixion-1938
And we are open to other creative ideas as well.
Five paintings that beg for renditions that put Judaism back in the picture
Queries and submissions can sent to JJArtExhibit@aol.com
. You can find others in my chapter “The Ethnic Cleansing of Judaism in Medieval and Renaissance Art.” And hundreds of classical paintings to choose from can be found in Gospel Figures in Art by Stefano Zuffi (Getty Museum 2005).
Christ Among The Doctors by Albrecht Durer. Here we see a gentle and ethereal Jesus (the “Christian”) surrounded by wretched sages (the Jews). One of the Jewish “doctors” looks almost sub-human. The painting refers to a scene in The Gospel of Luke (2:46-50). In contrast, the others-the Jewish scholars-are dark, menacing and ugly. In fact they were all Semites from the same tribe. And the scholars being privileged upper class would look better, healthier, and attired in their finest - especially at the time depicted in this painting, which was during the Passover celebration.
Scenes from the Life of St. John the Bapist, by Francesco Granacci. The five depicted scenes are far removed from the real life of John the Baptist and his family. The architecture is decorated with allegorical motifs-statues and images that would be anathema to Jews of that period. John was a nomadic teacher who probably lived in tents-others lived in simple mud and brick structures.
Madonna and Child with Donor by Master G.Z., an unknown early fifteenth-century painter. The Bishop Saint Nicholas is presenting the donor, Pietro de Lardi, who commissioned the painting. In this painting Mary and Jesus are pictured in a totally Christian context. According to the Gospels Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day after his birth, like all Jewish male children-and after Mary completed her “purification according to the laws of Moses” they went to the Temple in Jerusalem with Jesus for additional Jewish rituals (Luke:2:21-24).
Piero Di Cosimo’s fifteenth-century painting of The Young St John the Baptist, an unusual side-view portrait. In this image, in which John is holding a crucifix staff, he is extremely fair skinned with curly blond hair and classical Roman features.
Neroccio de Landi’s Madonna and Child with Saints Jerome and Mary Magdalene (1490). Jesus, Madonna, and Mary Magdalene are noticeably milk white and Roman in appearance. The presence of Christian Saints complete a picture totally alien to its original Jewish setting in a rural Jewish village. Consider also that Mary Magdalene was a practicing Jew; she was present at the preparation of Jesus body for burial according to Jewish custom.
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