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Close Looking & DiscussionShare

After the Pogrom

Maurycy Minkowski (Polish, 1881-1930)

After the Pogrom, c. 1910

  • Oil on canvas
  • 40 7/8 x 60 in. (103.9 x 152.4 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Gift of Lester S. Klein, 1986-80

Not on view

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After the Pogrom

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After the Pogrom

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CLOSE LOOKING / VISUAL ANALYSIS:

Encourage students to examine this painting carefully.

  • What do you notice in this painting? Describe the different characters that draw your attention.

  • How do the gestures and facial expressions of the figures help tell a story?
    What mood do they lend to the work? What other elements reinforce this mood?
    [The tiny bit of grey sky adds to the sense of gloom.]

  • Describe the setting.

  • How do your eyes travel around when you are looking at this painting? What choices/strategies has the artist employed to encourage your eyes to move around the pictorial space in this way?
    [The absence of a distinct focal point keeps the viewer’s eyes wandering. The figures look in different directions, which encourages the viewer to look around the space as well. Also, the viewer’s eyes bounce from pattern to pattern within the foreground space.]

  • What do you notice about the artist’s brushstrokes? Where does he use broad, loose brushstrokes? Where does he use finer strokes?
    [Minkowski paints the faces in detail, with fine brushstrokes; the landscape is suggested more loosely. This draws attention to the figures and their expressions.]




FOR FURTHER DISCUSSION:

After giving students an opportunity to examine this painting, explain the context of the work. Lead students in a discussion of related topics and themes:

  • What do you think could have happened immediately before this scene? What could happen next?

  • Why do you think Minkowski painted this particular moment in the story?

  • Minkowski’s painting is based on events he witnessed in the aftermath of an Eastern European pogrom. How would a documentary photograph of the same event be different from Minkowski’s depiction? Why would they be different?




RESEARCH TOPICS / CONTENT CONNECTIONS:

  • Modern European Jewish History
  • Immigration
  • Anti-Semitism