Jewish art is a particular passion of mine, as it connects with a deeper part of me as an artist and human being. My work, Spirit of Jerusalem, is a celebration of Jewish heritage and history through an explosion of color, imagery, and symbolism that stir emotions and dormant spirituality.
Representing what the Jewish faith means to me through my art brings my spirit joy- and I believe it comes through in the finished piece.
The Gates of Jerusalem Shining Through
Nothing quite represents the triumphant spirit of Jerusalem like the image of the towering golden gates. I chose to make them a central element in this painting- but in a way that makes them almost seem veiled. The effervescent gold radiates from behind what feels like a curtain being pulled apart- or perhaps even a split waterfall. Against the boldly contrasting deep blue of the rest of the painting, it feels like a glimpse of the heavens- a touch of the divine that blesses Jewish people and their heritage.
Color Symbolism and the Spirit of Jewish History
Like many of my works, bright, bold use of color plays a vital role in bringing this image and its meaning to life. Blue has always been connected with the spirit of Judaism and Jerusalem- representing divine connection and revelation. By draping the edges of the painting with a rich, deep blue- which is carried throughout the image- I aim to draw the viewer closer to the spiritual connection I feel when I think about Jerusalem. From there, a flurry of vibrant reds and yellows flows through the center of the image like a beauty-filled flame. Everything about the color pallet is bold- except the ever so slightly muted gold of the gates- which is meant to set them aside from the rest- and shows another side to Jerusalem’s ethereal spirit.
Subtle Imagery to Connect the Viewer with Jewish Heritage
In the flurry of flame-like reds and yellows, there is a spray of images and symbols that connect with Jewish history and belief. The fire itself is a sign of God’s presence- something I feel is undeniable in the City of Jerusalem. This flame, however, is made up of butterflies, birds, poppies, and eyes- symbols of hope, protection, life, and triumph over adverse circumstances.
Personally, I find the poppy one of the best representations of the spirit of Jerusalem and its people throughout Jewish history. It is one of the first flowers that bloom after the harsh cold of winter- and can thrive in even the least hospitable environments. Like the poppy grows in the desert, the spirit of Jerusalem grows in adversity.
Balancing the image in the opposite corner to the poppies is a tree of pomegranates- the most symbolic fruit in Jewish heritage. They represent righteousness and wisdom- values woven into Jewish spirituality. I purposely placed them apart from the rest of the painting to highlight their importance- but also to express that the spirit of Jerusalem is about more than just being wise- it is about being hopeful, joyous, and patient.
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