The Passover Haggadah
  Modern Art in Dialogue with an Ancient Text
      Arthur Szyk
     
     

Arthur Szyk (1894-1951) was originally from Poland but towards the end of his life he made his home in New Canaan, CT. One of the great illustrators of the 20th century, he worked in the style of the medieval illuminators but his sensibility and subject matter reflected the times in which he lived. He worked on his Haggadah from 1932-1938, the years of the rise of National Socialism in Germany. He thus saw the biblical Egyptian oppressors as prototypes for the Nazis and he addressed the need for Jewish resistance in his representation of biblical figures such as Moses or King David. Moses is shown as a defiant militant man as well as a spiritual leader. And David, who is associated in the Haggadah with the psalms in the Hallel service, appears in Szyk's portrayal as a mighty warrior rather than as his is usually shown, a musician playing his lyre.

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