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The Feast of the Rejoicing of the Law at the Synagogue in Leghorn, Italy

Solomon Alexander Hart (British, 1806-1881)

The Feast of the Rejoicing of the Law at the Synagogue in Leghorn, Italy, 1850

  • Oil on canvas
  • 55 5/8 x 68 3/4 in. (141.3 x 174.6 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Gruss, JM 28-55

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The Feast of the Rejoicing of the Law at the Synagogue in Leghorn, Italy

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The Feast of the Rejoicing of the Law at the Synagogue in Leghorn, Italy

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CLOSE LOOKING / VISUAL ANALYSIS:

  • What do you think is happening in this painting? What do you see that supports your ideas? What holiday do you think is being celebrated?

  • How are the people dressed? Where or when do you think this is (for example, what time period, what time of year, where in the world, what type of building)?

  • What do you notice about the architecture in the painting?

  • How many Torah scrolls do you see in this painting? How are the scrolls decorated?

  • What would you say is the mood in this painting? How has the artist created this mood?

  • What would you say is the focal point of this painting? How does the artist focus your attention?

  • How does the way the building looks contribute to the celebration?




FOR FURTHER DISCUSSION:

After giving students ample opportunity to examine this painting, lead them in a discussion of related topics and themes:

  • This scene takes place in Italy, but the people originate from different parts of the world. What clues do you see that suggest where the people are from? Do your clothes provide clues about where you come from?

  • How is this scene similar to or different from celebrations you have attended?

  • On Simchat Torah, Jewish people honor the Torah. How are the Torah scrolls being honored in this painting? Are there other objects in your life that you try to treat with great honor or respect? How do you show them honor?

  • How has the artist created an atmosphere of honor and respect in this painting?