Early 20th Century Brass Wall Sconce Shabbat Lamp by Bezalel School Jerusalem
The name Bezalel is synonymous with more than 100 years of Israeli art, innovation and academic excellence. Bezalel’s unique strength stems from the numerous breakthroughs it has been responsible for and its ability to respond and adapt to cultural changes. It takes pride in its numerous generations of graduates, the spearhead of Israeli artists, designers and architects, in Israel and around the globe.
Large brass wall sconce, four light Shabbat lamp, Jerusalem, circa 1915. Aside from the four candle holders, the decoration on this piece was entirely worked by hand, in both repousse and chasing. Shaped backplate with hand-hammered motifs of grape clusters vines, European-styled five-light candelabrum, Ten Commandments encircled by graduated ovals. Bezalel signature amidst pomegranates over a row of candle holders, and scene of Rachel's Tomb. Oval reflective panel in center.
The vast majority of brass objects made by Bezalel tends to feature metalworking techniques that utilize dies (“die-stamped”), or working with stencils that reveal designs after acid is applied (“acid-etching”). This sconce however was painstakingly worked by hand, requiring many man-hours of labor to create the motifs shown. In his writings, Boris Schatz (the founded of the Bezalel School), would often remark how his wares were the “New Jewish Art”, and it was time to “let go” of European objects that were made for the general marketplace. This opinion of Schatz is clearly reflected here, where the image of a European-styled candelabrum is featured directly above the oval panel, which shows the viewer that is of “the old world” and this sconce is the “now”. Another example of this sconce (lacking the Tomb of Rachel scene however), is in the collection of the Jewish Museum in New York.
"Then the Lord said to Moses, See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all manner of workmanship - to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts." (Exodus 31, 1-5).
Established in 1906 by artist Boris Schatz as the “Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts”, Bezalel has evolved into one of the world's most prestigious art schools.
The Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design is, first and foremost, a group of talented, inspired and motivated artists and professionals. Both faculty and students are driven by a passion to create and by their dedication to quality and excellence. These two pillars of the Academy have placed Bezalel at the epicenter of Israel’s cultural discourse and at the forefront of its artistic scene, making it instrumental in shaping the country’s cultural identity.