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For Immediate Release:
December 10, 2015

Media Contact:
Nancy Colvin, 614.629.0303
nancy.colvin@cmaohio.org

CMA SHOWCASES HISTORIC TREASURES

(Columbus, OH) – The Columbus Museum of Art showcases a world-class collection and now the Museum is proud to display Medieval and Baroque objects from the collection of local collectors Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein. The objects, a 13th-century Hebrew Bible, a megillah that tells the story of Purim, and a gold case created to hold a megillah, will be on display through March 6, 2016.

“These treasures demonstrate the rich history of Jewish art,” said CMA Curator-at-Large Carole Genshaft.  “Columbus is home to some amazing collections, but more importantly, we’re fortunate to have collectors who understand the importance of sharing these works with our visitors. Not only are the objects beautiful to see, but they also foster dialogue and a greater understanding of Judaism and its traditions.”    

About the objects:

Written and illuminated in the late 13th century, the Hebrew Bible demonstrates the presence of Jewish culture in Spain during the Middle Ages. At the same time, it indicates the influence of Islamic decorative motifs marked by the absence of human figures and the presence of introductory carpet pages. These are full pages of geometric design often resembling the patterns and ornamentation of prayer rugs from the Middle East. The most spectacular illuminations are two pages of gold leaf illustrations of implements used in the ancient Temple in Jerusalem as described in the Hebrew Bible.

The Hebrew Bible will be featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Jerusalem in the Middle Ages, an exhibition that opens in fall 2016.

The megillah (Hebrew for scroll) on display tells the biblical story of Purim. Purim, a festive Jewish holiday, celebrates the time in ancient Persia when Jews were saved from extinction by the heroic efforts of Esther and her cousin Mordecai. The Murpurgo Golden Megillah was made in Italy around 1700. The skill of the artist is evident in the realistic and detailed depiction of the animals, birds, and flowers that surround the sixteen columns of text. The decorative flourishes, use of gold paint, and depiction of animals in motion reflect the energy of art from this period known as Baroque.

Also on view is a scroll of Esther case made entirely of gold and decorated with filigree, a lace-like network of tiny gold beads and threads soldered to the surface. Surrounded by scrolling flowers and foliage are the seven-branched menorah (candleholder) and the tablets inscribed with the words of the Ten Commandments.

The Columbus Museum of Art creates great experiences with great art for everyone. The Greater Columbus Arts Council, Nationwide Foundation, Ohio Arts Council, and the Henry D. and Carol B. Clark, Hermann Vorys, Fred Sands Family, Sayre Charitable, and James W. Overstreet funds of The Columbus Foundation provide ongoing support. CMA, Schokko Art Café, and the Museum Store are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and until 9:00 pm every Thursday. Museum admission is $14 for adults; $8 for seniors and students 6 and older; and free for members, children 5 and younger. Admission is free for all on Sundays. CMA Free Sundays presented by Arts Alive is made possible through a grant from PNC Foundation. For additional information, call 614.221.4848 or visit www.columbusmuseum.org.

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