Richard I. Cohen – Moses Mendelssohn – The German-Jewish Icon of Modernity

Event Date: 14 February 2019
German Historical Institute
17 Bloomsbury Square,
London WC1A 2NJ

European Leo Baeck Institute Lecture Series 2018-19

Seeing Jews in Art: Networks, Fantasies and Dreams

A lecture series organised by the Leo Baeck Institute London in cooperation with the German Historical Institute London.

This season’s topic will explore the agency of Jews within the networks shaping visual culture. Spanning from the middle ages to the present, and across a range of different media, it will focus on the point of intersection of Art by Jews with Art about Jews and the complex interplay of Jewish reactions to their depiction in Western art and Gentile attitudes towards Jewish visual culture. How do Jews respond and attempt to re-shape their images, stereotyped by the majority societies surrounding them? How does Jewish material culture them? How does Jewish material culture influence Western visual culture, and how were Jews entangled with the art world?

Dr Daniel Wildmann (Director, Leo Baeck Institute London) has pleasure in inviting you to the fourth lecture in the series:

Professor Richard I. Cohen (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel) – Moses Mendelssohn – The German-Jewish Icon of Modernity (1780s-2019)

Moses Mendelssohn has engaged artists of Jewish and non-Jewish origin from his lifetime until today. The lecture will show how, over this long period, Mendelssohn has been turned into the icon of German-Jewish modernity by being represented in a myriad of ways and techniques.

Richard I. Cohen is the academic director of the Israel Center of Research Excellence (ICore) for the Study of Cultures of Place in the Modern Jewish World. Formerly the Paulette and Claude Kelman Chair in French Jewry Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he has published widely on the history of Jews in western and central Europe and on the inter-relationship between art and society in the modern period. Among his publications: The Burden of Conscience. French-Jewish Leadership during the Holocaust; Jewish Icons. Art and Society in Modern Europe; co-curator and co-editor of From Court Jews to the Rothshilds: Art, Patronage, and Power, 1600-1800, and Le Juif Errant: Un témoin de temps. He recently edited and introduced Place in Modern Jewish Culture and Society [vol. 30 of Studies in Contemporary Jewry, Oxford University Press, New York].

Welcome and introduction by Professor Christina von Hodenberg (Director, GHIL) and Dr Daniel Wildmann (Director, LBI):

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