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Cultural ExchangeJews, Christians, and Art in the Medieval Marketplace$
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Joseph Shatzmiller

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691156996

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691156996.001.0001

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German Jews and Figurative Art

German Jews and Figurative Art

Appreciation and Reservation

(p.73) Chapter Five German Jews and Figurative Art
Cultural Exchange

Joseph Shatzmiller

Princeton University Press

This chapter briefly reviews the art history from 1230–1450 CE in order to better understand the cultural profile of the rabbi, and to evaluate the contribution of the wall paintings in his house as indications of the artistic horizons of German Jews of the fourteenth century. It also shows how Jews had to abandon the art that they cherished for generations, yet they found ways to keep alive their fascination with the beautiful and to nurse their aesthetic needs. The interior synagogue of Santa Maria la Blanca of Toledo and that of the recently reconstructed Sinagoga Mayor of Segovia manifest a profound attachment to Islamic public architecture. Jews showed great appreciation for the decorative value of their Hebrew alphabet. They also learned to paint inanimate or geometric images in miniature letters on the covers of their Bibles.

Keywords:   German Jews, art history, aesthetic needs, Santa Maria la Blanca of Toledo, Sinagoga Mayor of Segovia, Hebrew alphabet, Islamic public architecture

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