Discover the world’s largest online database of Jewish Art

Jewish Art Mazhor

The Center for Jewish Art at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem launched the world’s largest online database of Jewish art (yesterday) at the World Congress of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.

The Bezalel Narkiss Index of Jewish Art is a collection of digitized images and information about Jewish artifacts from all over the world. The online collection includes more than 260,000 images of objects and artifacts from 700 museums, synagogues and private collections in 41 different countries, as well as architectural drawings of 1,500 synagogues and Jewish ritual buildings from antiquity to the modern day.

The public can access the Bezalel Index of Jewish Art and start exploring the world of Jewish art at Amateur or professional researchers easily access more than a quarter of a million images, with accompanying details and descriptions, either by simple keyword search, or according to such categories as Iconographical Subject, Origin, Artist, Object, Community, Collection or Location.

The Center for Jewish Art is the world’s foremost institution dedicated to the preservation of the Jewish artistic heritage. The Center’s activities include documentation, research, education and publishing. Under the direction of Dr. Vladimir Levin, the Center has in recent years worked steadily toward completing the Index by photographing, measuring and painstakingly describing and categorizing each piece to be made available online to the public. (…)

The extensive collection contains over 100,000 entries in the Jewish Ritual Architecture category alone. “We cannot physically preserve all Jewish buildings everywhere, but we can preserve them visually through documentation and drawings,” said Dr. Levin. (…)

The Israeli government recognized The Bezalel Narkiss Index of Jewish Art as a non-tangible national heritage in 2012, and it is today considered the most comprehensive database of Jewish art in the world, existing as a virtual museum available to all.

Image from the Bezalel Narkiss Index : Tripartite Mahzor, Lake Constance Area, ca. 1322 (Oxford, Bodleian Library) – The Tripartite Mahzor is a magnificent illuminated manuscript divided into three volumes, adorned by paintings in colors and gold, produced in a non-Jewish workshop. Here the initial word: כל (“All”) opening the Eve of Yom Kippur prayers is written within a colorful panel adorned with hybrid creatures.  Credit: Hebrew University / Center for Jewish Art.
Extracts from the Press release made on 09.08.2017 by the Hebrew University. To read the full announcement, please go to their website.