Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA) Opens Jerusalem and the Holy Land. The Paintings of Ludwig Blum

The Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA) presentsJerusalem and the Holy Land. The Paintings of Ludwig Blum an exhibition on view October 28, 2011–January 15, 2012.

Ludwig Blum, Purim Festival Street Decoration in Tel Aviv c. 1934-35 Watercolor and pencil on paper 27 x 36 cm Family of the Artist Collection

Known as the “Painter of Jerusalem,” Ludwig Blum (1891-1974) immigrated to Palestine in 1923 from what is now the Czech Republic. A veteran of the First World War and an academically-trained painter, Blum set about depicting the Middle East, most notably, the Holy Land, both through vast topographical scenes and through small-scale street and marketplace scenes. He portrayed Palestine, and later Israel, with an intimacy borne of his love for his adopted homeland and its people, and he painted Jewish, Christian, and Muslim sites alike, largely devoid of religious overtones. While he did not adopt a modernist aesthetic, Blum was unlike the Orientalist painters of the 19th century, with whom he is often compared. He did not wish to present a romanticized vision of the Holy Land of biblical times; rather, his paintings reflect the perceptions of a 20th century viewer.

In a similar vein to the 19th century lithographs of David Roberts, previously exhibited at MOBIA, and with which Blum was familiar, Jerusalem and the Holy Land chronicles the Holy Land and the holiest sites in the Judeo-Christian world. Blum’s works are imbued with an added sense of historical accuracy, one made all the more resonant by the artist’s first-hand experience of some of the most important events in the modern history of the Holy Land.

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