Studies in Western Art No.4
Special Issue :
Art History and the Jew

September, 2000



Editor's Foreword

Tsukasa Kodera

Art History and the Jew




Tetsuhiro Kato

Warburg and Berenson:
The 'Jewishness' of their Texts and Contexts

Two well-known art historians, Aby Warburg(1866-1929)and Bernard Berenson(1865-1959), share many common features. Both were Jews from the Baltic Sea region; both were active in Florence at the beginning of the 20th century; and although they held no official positions in the university, they both bequeathed famous private institutes to posterity. But their most important affinity can be found in the fact that they were "Non-Jewish Jews" who were striving to liberate themselves from established rabbinical convention and adapt themselves to the modern sociocultural norms of contemporary society. The aim of this paper is to clarify the strategies of assimilation and dissimilation of these prominent two Jewish art historians through a comparative analysis of their texts and contexts, and by doing so, to rethink the meaning and function of art historical study in the globalized, pluralized and ever-changing social environment of the late 20th century.

Keith Moxey
Translated by Akihiro Ozaki

Panofsky's Melancolia

The author seeks to demonstrate that Panofsky's cultural values are an intimate and essential aspect of his theoretical ideas. Panofsky's book on Albrecht Duerer is animated by assumptions and manifests values that can only be regarded as socially and politically motivated. Melancolia I plays a crucial role in the structure of Panofsky's book. It is an emblem of Panofsky's thesis concerning the struggle between the rational and irrational tendencies of the German national temperament. Panofsky's choice of Melancolia I as an emblem of Duerer's struggle with unreason appears to have been overdetermined. It not only served the conscious goals of his interpretation by marking of Duerer an outstanding representative of the German national temperament, but it also manifested the melancholy of Panofsky's own relation to the national culture that had formed his values and shaped his sensibilities. Panofsky was confident that his method allowed him such intimate access to Duerer's intentions that he was empowered to assert that Melancolia I was the artist's spiritual self-portrait. Yet this may have depended on the extent to which he was unaware that his own relation to the image was motivated by forces beyond his control.

Yasujiro Otaka

An Aspiration Sealed
Velazquez, from a commoner to the Caballero de Santiago

Diego Velazquez, author of the masterpiece Las Meninas, has been held in the highest esteem as one of the most popular and exemplary artists of Spain. His glorious career reached its culmination in his last years when he was appointed a member of the Order of Santiago. It should be noted, however, that despite this honorable title his noble descent from a so-called hidalgo family remained unproven. What is more, recent archival investigations carried out by Mendez, Ingram and others not only reject his aristocratic origins but have brought to light that he had actually belonged to the judeo-converso(converted Jewish) lineage.
Based on these new findings, the present paper aims at dismantling the hitherto held myth of his art: that the art of Velazquez is aristocratic by nature. Contrarily, it should be supposed that his successful career was elaborately crafted under a secret aspiration to rise "from a commoner to an aristocrat." Meanwhile we see in his early bodegones an empirical, realistic spirit at the same time as serious eyes turned on the weak and the poor, which were to develop into his later court portraits of the hombres de placer(men for pleasure). All of these artistic peculiarities would place him in the intellectual genealogy of the judeo-converso represented by figures such as Luis Vives and Mateo Aleman.

Koji Ariki

Painting of Marrano:
The Sensation of Camille Pissarro

Camille Pissarro, one of the founders of French Impressionism, was born in Saint-Thomas of the Virgin Islands as an offspring of Crypt-Jews or Marranos, but later he would move to France where he was counted among the pioneers of the Impressionist movement. The meaning of his paintings, however, has not been understood correctly. Pissarro placed great importance on "sensation," which carried within it the accumulated experiences and memories of the Marranos. This article explores Pissarro's art from the point of view of his relationship to his ethnicity.

Romy Golan
Translated by Masayuki Tanaka

The 'Ecole Francais' vs the 'Ecole de Paris'
The Debate about the Status of Jewish Artists in Paris between the Wars

The 'picture tabernacle'(Bildtabernakel), which consists of a modern altarpiece in the center of which a medieval icon is inserted, was produced in Italy, especially during the Counter Reformation. This article attempts to compose a brief list of the examples of this genre produced in Siena and to situate them in their historical context. The first two works in Siena, both by Sodoma, were used by two Confraternities of the Rosary, so it is probable that, in order to promote the new devotion for the rosary, the Dominicans of Siena inserted ancient images from the existing cult into the 'picture tabernacles'. However, the newly formed cult for the 'Madonna of Provenzano' also played an important role in its development. The first half of seventeenth century was the most productive period for this genre. The decoration of the Chapel of the 'Madonna of the Vow' with the sculptures and reliefs probably designed by Bernini (1658-64), however, brought about a change in the taste of patrons and caused its decline.

Robin Reisenfeld
Translated by Yuko Ikeda

Collection and Collective Memory
German Expressionist Art and Modern Jewish Identity

This essay examines the role of German Jewish patrons expelled from Germany in collecting and preserving German Expressionist art at a time when modern German art was undervalued. By collecting and selling German expressionist art, emigre German Jews could retain an identification with a stream of German culture that was itself antithetical to the values of the National Socialist ideology that deemed it degenerate. The selection process enabled them to sustain and re-create a sense of personal history. German Expressionist art provides a lens for viewing both Jewishness and Germany in German culture. In this essay Reisenfeld conceptualizes the German Jewish emigres' situation through Spivak's discourse of the postcolonial exile and considers their historical cultural back-ground in the first half of the 20th century. She demonstrates that the activity of collecting contributed to both the formation of modern American Jewish identity and to an authentication of self and culture on the part of individual collectors when traditional means, such as attachment to religious and political institutions, were not feasible.

Tsukasa Kodera

Hans Ludwig Cohn Jaffe 1915-1984
From the Bildung to the Ethica of De Stijl

Hans Ludwig Cohn(1915-1984), born in a German Jewish family in Frankfurt am Main, had just graduated from the Gymnasium when the Nazis rose to power. He emigrated to Amsterdam, where he started his career as an art historian under the name Hans L.C. Jaffe Discharged from the Stedelijk Museum during the Nazi occupation, he escaped to Switzerland and joined the army. After the war he returned to Amsterdam to be the leading scholar of De Stijl and one of the first university professors of modern and contemporary art. This article shows how his Bildungsideal was tranformed during his career and what "art" meant for him.

State of Research

Joseph Gutmann
Transerated by Mika

Jewish Art and Jewish Studies

Motokazu Kimata

Iconographic Representation of the Jews in Medieval Christian Art
Interpretation of the 'Jewish Hat'

Jerzy Malinowski
Transerated by Akiko Kasuya

Jewish Identity in Modern Art in Poland

Tokiko Kawata

Clement Greenberg as a Jew


Book Review

Masayuki Tanaka

Linda Nochlin and Tamar Garb (eds. & introd.), The Jew in the Text: Modernity and the Construction of Identity

Catherine M. Soussloff (ed.), Jewish Identity in Modern Art History


Koji Takeguchi



Mika Yoshimatsu

Exhibition Reviews

Michiko Matsui

El Greco. Identity and Translation (Rome, 1999)

Chika Amano

Rhetorik der Leidenschaft - Zur Bildsprache der Kunst im Abendland (Tokyo, 1998)