Oriental Motifs in Israeli Art and Music: Dynamics of the Sign-object Relationship


The purpose of this paper is to investigate the function of Oriental themes in the formation of sign-object relationships (semiosis) in Israeli art and music developed by the first two generations of national artists and composers between the 1920s and the 1970s. This period is the most representative from the point of view under consideration, and it sheds light on the further development of these types of national art at a time when the place of Oriental motifs has already been established, and they are no longer an end in themselves in the creator’s arsenal. From the early decades after World War I to the present, the essay examines Oriental rather than Jewish narratives (or at least a careful balance between them) in Israeli visual arts and classical music. Based on the study of numerous selected artefacts, the major stages in this process are assessed. The findings of the study reveal that artists’ familiarity with the local motif (in the first generation’s artworks) leads to their work with and understanding of diverse Oriental, Jewish, and Israeli symbols in the second generation’s artworks. The direct and indirect repercussions of this process on art and music developed later in history, up to the present day, might be suggested as a topic for further research.

Author(S) Details

Alexander Rosenblatt
Zefat Academic College, Israel.

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