This portrait shows the Zionist leader Theodore Herzl dressed as a European intellectual, but his posture and surroundings are reminiscent of biblical depictions of Moses. In this way the artist associates a thoroughly modern personality with tradition and vision underlining his qualities as a leader.
Herzl became famous for his publication ‘Der Judenstaat’ (‘The Jewish State’) in 1895. He was not the first to suggest that Jews form their own state, however it was his idea of a return to Palestine that eventually led to the foundation of Israel.
Pilichowski is best known for his depictions of Jewish life, religious representations and many scenes of Jewish suffering, but he also painted landscape and portraiture. In his time some people criticised the artist for the sobriety with which he had depicted the political leader.
Where to see this painting?
Ben Uri, The London Jewish Museum of Art
Not all paintings are on display. If you want to see a particular painting, please contact the collection
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