Bezalel Academy of Art and Design

Bezalel Academy of Art and Design

Bezalel Academy of Art and Design is Israel's national school of art. It is named after the Biblical figure Bezalel, son of Uri ( _he. בְּצַלְאֵל בֶּן־אוּרִי), who was appointed by Moses to oversee the design and construction of the Tabernacle (Exodus 35:30).

It is located on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem and has 1,500 students registered in programs such as: Fine Arts, Architecture, Ceramic Design, Industrial Design, Jewelry, Photography, Visual Communication, Animation, Film, and Art

History & Theory. Bezalel offers Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.), Bachelor of Design (B.Des.) degrees, a Master of Fine Arts in conjunction with Hebrew University, and two different Master of design (M.des) degrees .


The academy was founded in 1903 by Boris Schatz, and opened in 1906, but was cut off from its supporters in Europe by World War I, and closed due to financial difficulties in 1929. The academy was named "Bezalel" (Hebrew: "in God's shadow") as an illustration of God's creativity being channeled to a man of flesh and blood, providing the source of inspiration to Bezalel ben Uri in the construction of the holy ark.

Many early Zionists, including Theodor Herzl, felt that Israel needed to have a national style of art combining Jewish, Middle Eastern, and European traditions. The teachers at the academy developed a distinctive school (or style) of art, known as the Bezalel school, in which artists portrayed both Biblical and Zionist subjects in a style influenced by the European jugendstil (art nouveau) and by traditional Persian and Syrian styles.

Like the Wiener Werkstätte in Vienna, William Morris firm in England, and Tiffany Studios in New York, the Bezalel School produced decorative art objects in a wide range of media: silver, leather, wood, brass and fabric. While the artists and designers were European-trained, the craftsmen who executed the works were often members of the Yemenite community, which has a long tradition of craftsanship in precious metals, and whose members had been making aliyah in small groups at least form the beginning of the nineteenth century, forming a distinctive Yeminite community in Jerusalem. Silver and goldsmithing, occupations forbidden to pious Muslims, had been traditional Jewish occupations in Yemen. Yemenite immigrants with their colorful traditional costumes were also frequent subjects of Bezalel school artists.

Leading artists of the school include Meir Gur Aryeh, Ze'ev Raban, Boris Schatz, Jacob Eisenberg, Jacob Steinhardt, and Hermann Struck. [ Ze'ev Raban, A Hebrew Symbolist, by Batsheva Goldman Ida, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, 2001 ]

The School folded because of economic difficulties. It was reopened as the New Bezalel School for Arts and Crafts in 1935, attracting many of its teachers and students from Germany, many of them from the Bauhaus school which had been shut down by the Nazis. In 1969 it was converted into a state-supported institution and took its current name. It completed its relocation to the current campus in 1990.

Current and future

In 2006, the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design celebrated its 100th anniversary. In the future, the academy is expected to change its location back to Jerusalem's city center, to what is now known as The Russian Compound. [ [ Artful move | Jerusalem Post ] ]

ee also

* Bezalel school

External links

* [ Bezalel Academy web site (English)]

Gil Goldfine, “Zeev Raban and the Bezalel style,” Jerusalem Post , 12-14-2001

Dalia Manor, “Biblical Zionism in Bezalel Art,” Israel Studies 6.1 (2001) 55-75,

The "Hebrew Style" of Bezalel, 1906-1929 Nurit Shilo Cohen The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts, Vol. 20. (1994), pp. 140-163 Manor, Dalia, Art in Zion: The Genesis of National Art in Jewish Palestine, published by Routledge Curzon, 2005)

Israel's traumas and dreams: a mega-exhibition titled "The New Hebrews" used a combination of art and documentary material to tackle a century of Israeli culture and history. (REPORT FROM BERLIN) From: Art in America | Date: 5/1/2006 | Author: Kleeblatt, Norman L.

Webberley, Helen “The Tower of David Days”, AHCCA Postgraduate Association Conference, Melbourne University, Nov 2004

"Crafting a Jewish Style: The Art of the Bezalel Academy, 1906-1996" 2000-08-26 until 2000-10-22 Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts

bezalel academy of art and design industrial design students website:


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