A History of Jewish Art, by Franz Landsberger
“Is there such a thing as Jewish art?” This challenging question, raised by Dr. Landsberger at the outset of his discussion, was asked with much insistence seventeen years ago by the late Ernst Cohn-Wiener in his Juedische Kunst. Operating with the then current concept of “Kunstwollen” (or “will to art”), Cohn-Wiener denied in the Jews—or at least in the ancient Israelites—the presence of any elemental urge to recreate the visual world. The ancient Jews, he pointed out, had produced no sculpture in the round and nothing in the way of portrayals of national heroes and historical events. They had practiced the applied arts of decoration and some minor arts; in architecture they had been dependent on foreign guidance.
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