May 27, 1998 Bezalel Narkiss To Speak on "Zionism and Art"

Press Contact: John Sayers (202) 707-9216

As part of its celebration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel, the Library of Congress will host a lecture on "Zionism and Art" by Bezalel Narkiss on June 17 at 6 p.m. The presentation will be accompanied by a selection of posters from "Zionism: Images of a State in the Making," an exhibition by the Central Zionist Archives in Israel marking the first hundred years of Zionism.

Bezalel Narkiss is founder and professor emeritus of the Center for Jewish Art at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He currently serves as Samuel H. Kress Professor at the Center for Advanced Study in Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Mr. Narkiss wrote "The Art of the Washington Haggadah" for the Library's facsimile edition of The Washington Haggadah, a 15th century illuminated Hebrew manuscript housed at the Library of Congress.

The lecture, co-sponsored by the Library's Hebraic Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division, the Office of Scholarly Programs and the Embassy of Israel, will be held in the Mumford Room, sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Avenue S.E. The lecture is free and open to the public, but reservations are required and can be made by calling (202) 707-1616.

In addition to the lecture, the Library will commemorate the founding of Israel in 1948 through an exhibition of Judaica, slated to open on Sept. 16 in the North Gallery of the Great Hall of the Jefferson Building. The exhibition will include approximately 50 items selected from the Library's acclaimed 1991 exhibition "From the Ends of the Earth: Judaic Treasures of the Library of Congress," as well as a number of items chosen especially for this exhibit. Items that will be on display include the first Hebrew book printed in the Holy Land, Yom Tov Zahalon's Lekah Tov, a commentary on the Book of Esther published in Safed in 1577; a 19th century wall plaque with depictions of the region's four "Holy Cities": Jerusalem, Tiberias, Safed and Hebron; one of the earliest maps of the Holy Land in Hebrew characters, which first appeared in a Haggadah published in Amsterdam in 1695; and a decorated 19th century synagogue wall hanging with images of Jerusalem. Other items in the exhibition will include handmade Hebrew books and materials bearing on the founding of Israel.

The "Israel at 50" program at the Library of Congress is made possible by a grant from the Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation of Washington, D.C. For information about "Israel at 50," call the Library's Hebraic Section at (202) 707-5422.


PR 98-085
ISSN 0731-3527