Samuel Hirszenberg
School of Talmudists, 1887
Gift of Teresa and Markus Silberstein, 1923

material: oil on canvas

dimensions: 137 × 212 cm

description: The Jewish minority in 19th century Krakow was very numerous, so it is not surprising that many artists originated from the Jewish community. The themes and styles they chose were varied, however, there were some who eagerly looked for inspiration to their native traditions, customs, outfits, and a world full of symbols and metaphors. One of such artists was Samuel Hirszenberg. In his painting, he showed young men studying the Talmud, thus identifying their spirituality and origins. The figure of the student sitting opposite the viewer, lost in contemplation, with a pensive expression on his face draws the greatest attention. Lost in thought, he may be questioning the very issue he is dedicating his time to. The artist contrasted traditional spirituality with a vision of new ideas, which might have been the centre of attention of many young members of the Jewish community.
Anna Budzałek

exposition: The Gallery of 19th Century Polish Art in Sukiennice,
The Cloth Hall, 1, Main Market Square

key: Realism, polish impressionism, beginnings of symbolism >>>

© 2010 National Museum in Krakow
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