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He Cast a Look and Went Mad

Maurycy Minkowski (Polish, 1881-1930)

He Cast a Look and Went Mad, 1910

  • Oil on canvas
  • 43 x 52 1/2 in. (109.2 x 133.4 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Gift of Mrs. Rose Mintz, JM 14-75

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He Cast a Look and Went Mad

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He Cast a Look and Went Mad

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Like Weber’s The Talmudists, this work by the Polish artist Maurycy Minkowski shows a group of men in a traditional Jewish house of study. It also reflects a tension between tradition and modernity. Learn more about Minkowski’s work.

Have students compare Minkowski’s painting with The Talmudists by Max Weber. Discuss:

  • In what way is the content of the two paintings similar ? How is it different?

  • Compare the artists’ use of color, composition, and brushstroke. In what ways is their use of formal qualities different?
    [Weber uses more color than Minkowski does. Minkowski’s palette is more tonal. Weber’s application of paint is much more painterly (each individual brushstroke is visible), and the brushstrokes are more animated. Weber’s application of paint is textural and sometimes very thick. Although the compositions are quite different, they both include groups of clustered figures.]


The Return of the Volunteer from the Wars of Liberation to His Family Still Living in Accordance with Old Customs (Die Heimkehr des Freiwilligen aus den Befreiungskriegen zu den nach alter Sitte lebenden Seinen)

Moritz Daniel Oppenheim (German, 1800-1882)

The Return of the Volunteer from the Wars of Liberation to His Family Still Living in Accordance with Old Customs (Die Heimkehr des Freiwilligen aus den Befreiungskriegen zu den nach alter Sitte lebenden Seinen), 1833-34

  • Oil on canvas
  • 34 x 37 in. (86.4 x 94 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Gift of Richard and Beatrice Levy , 1984-61

On view

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The Return of the Volunteer from the Wars of Liberation to His Family Still Living in Accordance with Old Customs (Die Heimkehr des Freiwilligen aus den Befreiungskriegen zu den nach alter Sitte lebenden Seinen)

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The Return of the Volunteer from the Wars of Liberation to His Family Still Living in Accordance with Old Customs (Die Heimkehr des Freiwilligen aus den Befreiungskriegen zu den nach alter Sitte lebenden Seinen)



Moritz Daniel Oppenheim’s painting The Return of the Jewish Volunteer also depicts a scene of traditional Jewish life, but the composition and style of the painting is markedly different from Weber’s. Click here to learn more about Oppenheim’s work. After discussing Oppenheim’s painting with students, ask them to compare it with Weber’s.

Discuss:

  • Compare the compositionof Oppenheim’s Return of the Jewish Volunteer with that of The Talmudists by Max Weber. What is the focal point of Weber’s painting? What is the focus of Oppenheim’s work? What is the effect of these differences?
    [The focal point of Weber’s painting is in the center of the composition. Much of the composition is symmetrical, which lends visual balance. The focal point of Oppenheim’s painting is at the far left. The lighting adds a dramatic undertone to the painting.]

  • Compare Oppenheim’s application of paint with Weber’s. Pay attention to the different kinds of brushstrokes.
    [Weber uses loose brushstrokes and focuses less on the details of the setting. Oppenheim’s smooth and controlled brushstrokes and attention to detail make the setting more integral to the story.]