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Leo Baeck Institute London Lecture Series 2018-19

Seeing Jews in Art: Networks, Fantasies and Dreams

The LBI is pleased to announce our upcoming 2018/19 lecture series in collaboration with the German Historical Institute. This season’s topic is ‘Seeing Jews in Art: Networks, Fantasies and Dreams’, which will explore the agency of Jews within the networks shaping visual culture. Spanning from the middle ages to the present, and across a range of different media, it will focus on the point of intersection of Art by Jews with Art about Jews and the complex interplay of Jewish reactions to their depiction in Western art and Gentile attitudes towards Jewish visual culture. How do Jews respond and attempt to re-shape their images, stereotyped by the majority societies surrounding them? How does Jewish material culture them? How does Jewish material culture influence Western visual culture, and how were Jews entangled with the art world?

Series flyer

Katrin Kogman-Appel

The richly illustrated Catalan Mappamundi is among the most celebrated medieval maps surviving to this day. Commissioned by Peter IV of Aragon as a gift to Charles V of France it was put to parchment by Elisha Cresques, a Jewish scribe, illuminator, and cartographer in the City of Majorca. The talk explores how Elisha, from his delicate position as a Sefardi intellectual in the service of the Court coped with his patron’s agendas while, at the same time, voiced his own views of the politics of his time.   

Ruth Oren

The visual presentation about Zionist landscape photography in Palestine (Eretz-Israel), from its beginning in 1898 until 1961, explores the 'returning' of the Jews to modern history and geography and the formation of the 'mental landscape' of Israel as it was created in the Zionist photographic narrative. Landscape photography, produced and consumed within the National Zionist Institutions, created a utopian image of the Jewish environment by developing a coherent iconography rooted in the hegemonic ideology of cultivating and 'building' a country for the Jewish nation.

 

Cilly Kugelmann

In the 19th century Jews gradually began to free themselves from their ambivalence towards the fine arts. rabbis repeatedly placed the depiction of people in pictures and sculptures close to idolatry and viewed it with reservations. The discovery of a visual culture in Judaism by the Haskala, the Jewish Enlightenment, fulfilled a double function: it was intended to strengthen a new Jewish self-confidence internally and at the same time to ward off the anti-Semitic prejudice that Jews were incapable of artistic expression. This process will be illustrated by the example of the emergence and…

Richard I. Cohen

Moses Mendelssohn has engaged artists of Jewish and non-Jewish origin from his lifetime until today. The lecture will show how, over this long period, Mendelssohn has been turned into the icon of German-Jewish modernity by being represented in a myriad of ways and techniques.

Prof Nathan Abrams

In this illustrated lecture, professor Nathan Abrams will explore recent British representations of Jews on television focussing on the role of the Jewish gangster in McMafia and Peaky Blinders in particular.

Nathan Abrams is Professor in Film at Bangor University of Wales where he directs the Film Studies programme and the Centre for Film, Television and Screen Studies. He is the author of Stanley Kubrick: New York Jewish Intellectual (2018) and Eyes Wide Shut: Stanley Kubrick and the Making of His Final Film…