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After Hart, Solomon Alexander (British, 1806-1881)
This beautiful painting portrays a moment of great significance: the Festival of Simchat Torah, which celebrates the completion of the annual cycle of reading the Five Books of Moses.
This oil on canvas painting portrays a mid-19th Century scene of a Torah Procession during the Jewish festival of Simchat Torah set in a synagogue in Livorno, Italy. The present painting is after Solomon Alexander Hart’s The Feast of the Rejoicing of the Law. Hart’s original is on view at the Jewish Museum, New York City. The present piece, following Hart’s 1850 original, presents an interior scene of quiet solemnity, beautifully lit with diffuse light and populated with many skillfully rendered figures.
Hart, who was the first Jewish member of the British Royal Academy, was a celebrated painter in his own day and remains collected today. The subject matter of the painting, the Jewish festival of Simchat Torah, is an occasion of great communal celebration that marks the completion of the annual cycle of reading the Five Books of Moses and the immediate beginning again with Genesis.
The painting is unframed.
Masterworks of the Jewish Museum (2004) by Maurice Berger et al. pp. 126-127
The Emergence of Jewish Artists in Nineteenth-Century Europe (2001) by Susan T. Goodman et al. p. 59
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