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Eclipse of God (After the Uccello Panel Called Breaking Down the Jew's Door)

R. B. Kitaj (American, 1932-2007)

Eclipse of God (After the Uccello Panel Called Breaking Down the Jew's Door), 1997-2000

  • Oil and charcoal on canvas
  • 35 15/16 x 47 15/16 in. (91.3 x 121.8 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Purchase: Oscar and Regina Gruss Memorial and S. H. and Helen R. Scheuer Family Foundation Funds, 2000-71

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Eclipse of God (After the Uccello Panel Called Breaking Down the Jew's Door)

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Eclipse of God (After the Uccello Panel Called Breaking Down the Jew's Door)

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Eclipse of God by R. B. Kitaj is based on a detail of a 15th-century painting by the Italian artist Paolo Uccello. Like Aptekar’s appropriations of Isidor Kaufmann’s paintings, Kitaj’s work represents an attempt to place an earlier work in a contemporary context. After examining Kitaj’s work with students, have them compare it with Aptekar’s I Hate the Name Kenneth.

Discuss:

  • How has each artist reworked their source imagery?

  • Why might an artist choose to appropriate an earlier work in this way?

  • Can you think of a visual artist, musician, playwright, choreographer, or author working today who has appropriated or borrowed material from another artist and incorporated it into her/his own artwork? What is your personal opinion about appropriation as a creative strategy? Have you ever made use of appropriation in your own creative work?