Earlier literature on Jewish ceremonial art from medieval Ashkenaz (the Jewish community of Northern France and the Rhineland and areas under its influence) encompassed only a small number of extant objects from that period. These can be divided into two groups: those that are uniquely Jewish in form, and those that represent an adaptation of types in general use. The present study enlarges the corpus by integrating material published in general sources or recently discovered in treasure troves. Some of these works had not been previously identified as Judaica, for example the double cups known as Doppelkopf or Doppelscheuer. The popularity of this last form among Ashkenazi Jews is indicated by numerous representations of the type in illuminated Hebrew manuscripts, and can be understood in the context of German customs and the evolution of the Jewish marriage ceremony during the High Middle Ages.
The amazing discovery of the Dura Europos synagogue, accurately dated 245 A.D., has raised many scholarly questions. Some scholars, for instance, armed with the presumptive stern injunction of the Second Commandment, were utterly shocked by this archaeological find, and have had to revise their preconceived theories. Another major scholarly debate is whether the Dura synagogue paintings exerted an influence on later Christian and Jewish art. According to some scholars, there exist definite iconographic parallels between the Dura synagogue depictions and medieval Spanish, Byzantine and Jewish art. The paper examines the iconographic features found in the biblical illustrations of the Dura synagogue and in later medieval art and comes to the conclusion that no concrete and indisputable connection can be established.
In his discussion of two previously unknown drawings by Liévin Cruyl, the author points out the significant identification of Europe's rulers and their states with Israel. Cruyl's page for Louis XIV draws upon renderings of reconstructions of the Temple of Solomon, and it was that building which provided the point of departure for many of the leading palaces - the Escorial and the Louvre, among others. Not only did the identification of the monarchy with the Tree of Jesse - the ancestors of Christ, placing them among the descendants of David - justify its rule, such association was also made by the new mercantile republics. Venice and the Northern Netherlands, both perpetually rescued from and by the sea, associated their profitable economy with that of the Jews, whose way of life was freed from the communism so fundamental to the tenets of early Christianity.
The Brunswick architect Constantin Uhde (1836-1905) erected the Brunswick synagogue and fellowship house in 1873-74. These structures are influenced a great deal by the Romanesque style. Following a visit to Spain in 1888, he integrates elements of Moorish style into his Wolfenbüttel synagogue. These come even stronger to fore in his planned Dortmund synagogue, 1896 (never built), in order to "point out the Oriental origin of the people and the symbolism of their religion". The Gentile Uhde sensitively identifies with an imaginary "national" style and historicizes in a time where elsewhere "new architecture" was attempting to find more modern style forms.
The article is devoted to the images found on some of the mid-eighteenth- to nineteenth-century tombstones in the Jewish cemetery of Czernowitz, the author's hometown. As tombstones are a product of an essentially social art, the social conditions in which the tombstones were produced are examined. in particular, the author illustrates who the carvers were and how they were trained. Then the artistic treatment of the tombstones is discussed. Especially the script and the decorative motifs are the subject of closer scrutiny. The writer concludes than an interpretation of the tombstones holds the key to an understanding of the complex and rich community life of an irrevocably lost culture, which has yet to receive the attention it deserves.
The setting of Ercole de Roberti's Gathering of Manna forcibly recalls the staging used for secular plays produced in Ferrara at the end of the Quattrocento. This reflection of theater design in a painting is more that an empty, formal borrowing, for it can be shown that the theatricality of the picture probably reflects several arguments put forth by L. B. Alberti and Pellegrino Prisciano, who connect the origins of theater with primitive religious celebrations and, more specifically, with the events that surrounded the original Gathering of Manna. Furthermore, the theatricality of the picture, along with other aspects of the Gathering of Manna, turns out to serve as flattery of Duke Ercole I d'Este, having as its aim a subtle comparison of the Duke with Moses.
In opposition to current belief, two early Quattrocento statues in the Museo dell' Opera, Florence, assumed to represent an Annunciation, are shown not to have been executed for the lunette of the Porta della Mandorla. Close examination of the physical structures of the statues, the principal method used for this demonstration, reveals that they were designed to be viewed more panoramically, even especially in the case of the angel, than a two-dimensionally disposed lunette would allow, and they do not form a narrative group at all. The study proceeds to develop the minimum requirements the original sites of the statues must have had, and concludes with speculations on the character and fate of the missing Annunciation group that did occupy the lunette of the Porta della Mandorla beginning in 1414.
The paper discusses the problem of the original shape and meaning of the vault fresco painted for a prior's house in Cremona, probably by Alessandro Pampurino ca. 1500, but now kept in London. The design of this umbrella dome seems to have been modified in view of the prospective decoration: smaller lunettes do justice to profiles of Caesars and the smooth apex enhances pictorial illusionism of the oculus. Both modifications suggest that the enterprise was directed by one person. The chamber of the vault belonged to was relatively secluded. The images of Caesars (some could be identified), the Muses and grotesquerie may well have been connected with its function as a place of solitary studies and literary activities (studiolo-musaeum), whereas the meaning of the painted oculus remains obscure.