Imagining Jewish Art: Encounters with the Masters in Chagall, Guston, and Kitaj

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-06-01
  • Publisher: Routledge
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What does Jewish art look like? Where many scholars, critics, and curators have gone searching for the essence of Jewish art in Biblical illustrations and portraits of rabbis, Rosen sets out to discover Jewishness in unlikely places. How, he asks, have modern Jewish painters explored their Jewish identity using an artistic past which is -- by and large -- non-Jewish? In this new book, we encounter some of the great works of Western art history through Jewish eyes. We see Matthias Grunewald's Isenheim Altarpiece re-imagined by Marc Chagall (1887-1985), traces of Paolo Uccello and Piero della Francesca in Philip Guston (1913-1980), and images by Diego Velazquez and Paul Cezanne studiously reworked by R.B. Kitaj (1932-2007). This highly comparative study draws on theological, philosophical and literary sources from Franz Rosenzweig to Franz Kafka and Philip Roth. Rosen deepens our understanding not only of these three modern painters but also of how art might serve as a key resource for rethinking such fundamental Jewish concepts as family, tradition, and homeland.

Author Biography

Aaron Rosen earned his PhD from the University of Cambridge. He has been a visiting scholar at the University of California Berkeley and a post-doctoral fellow at Columbia University. He is currently the Albert and Rachel Lehmann Junior Research Fellow in Jewish History and Culture at the University of Oxford.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. ix
List of Illustrationsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Marc Chagall: Fostering a Family of Imagesp. 19
Philip Guston: Recasting the Past, or How to Make a Golemp. 49
R. B. Kitaj: The Diasporist Unpacksp. 77
Conclusion: Brushes with the Pastp. 105
Appendicesp. 111
Musical Iconography in Marc Chagall and Matthias Grünewaldp. 111
R. B. Kitaj and the 'Western' Traditionp. 112
Baseball and Jewish-American Identityp. 113
Bibliographyp. 115
Indexp. 123
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