For most of their history, Jews have not been well represented in the visual arts. Save for a brief flowering of creativity seen in Galilean communities in the wake of the destruction of the Second Temple, the religious prohibition against graven images led to a reluctance to produce an image of anything, especially not humans. It was not until the rise of the modern era of art that Jewish identity was transposed onto the canvas. Modigliani was famously belligerent about his Jewishness, but it was the French/Russian Marc Chagall who made the first fine art in a very great while that could be unequivocally considered Jewish art.
For a taste of Chagall's genius, Jerusalem visitors should make the trek out to the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital, whose synagogue houses the famed Chagall Windows: 12 abstract stained glass windows representing the 12 Tribes of Israel. One of the windows was damaged during the 1967 war; Chagall, in an oft-repeated story, told the hospital to worry about the defense of Israel, and he would make them new, more beautiful windows.
Sunday to Thursday 8:00 to 16:00
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