For our fifth meeting we went to see the exhibition "Behold the Man. Jesus in Israel Art". We were guided by the exhibition curator Amitai Mendelsohn.
Mendelsohn explained how the figure of Jesus is reflected in various pieces of art of Israeli artists who all expressed in their works the complicated relationship between the Jewish people and the figure of Jesus who has been seen as redeemer and Jewish victim on the one hand and representative of a Christian tradition that for centuries has been hostile to Jews on the other hand. Accordingly, Jesus appears in the guise of different figures throughout Israeli art, showing that it he signifies both division and bridge between both artistic traditions, the Jewish and the Christian one. While Chagall, for example, in his "The Crucifiction" presented Jesus as a Jewish victim of political terror, early Zionist painters saw the resurrected Christ as the 'new man' to symbolize the resurrection of the Jewish people. As a symbolf of pain and sorrow Jesus eventually found entrance into critical art, presenting the hardships of Palestinians and illegal immigrants to Israel. The exhibition shows that there is an ongoing discourse of Jesus and Christianity in Israeli Art that is aware of the tension between both cultures and histories but also seeks to find its similarities and that the figure of Jesus is a symbol of a large variety of experiences in Israeli history and culture.
The fifth meeting took place on the 22.3.2017 at 12.00.