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Hebrew Manuscript Painting in Late Medieval Spain: Signs of a Culture in Transition

Katrin Kogman-Appel
The Art Bulletin
Vol. 84, No. 2 (Jun., 2002), pp. 246-272
Published by: College Art Association
DOI: 10.2307/3177268
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3177268
Page Count: 27
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Hebrew Manuscript Painting in Late Medieval Spain: Signs of a Culture in Transition
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Abstract

In medieval Spain, Hebrew illuminated manuscripts gave expression to two distinct artistic languages. Bibles used an aniconic, primarily ornamental idiom closely linked to the Islamic arts of Spain, while Passover Haggadot used a richly narrative mode, including figurative images, derived from the Gothic stylistic tradition. Examination of this phenomenon reveals its roots in divisions among Spanish Jews socially, between Sephardim and Ashkenazim, upper classes and middle classes, and culturally, between rationalists and traditionalists, those who identified with Islamic culture and those tied to Christian Europe.

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