Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design

Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design (Hebrew: בצלאל, אקדמיה לאמנות ועיצוב) is an academic college of design and art located in Jerusalem, Israel. Established in 1906 by Jewish painter and sculptor Boris Schatz, Bezalel is Israel's oldest institution of higher education. It is named for the Biblical figure Bezalel, son of Uri (Hebrew: בְּצַלְאֵל בֶּן־אוּרִי), who was appointed by Moses to oversee the design and construction of the Tabernacle (Exodus 35:30). The art created by Bezalel's students and professors in the early 1900s is considered the springboard for Israeli visual arts in the 20th century.

Bezalel is currently located at the Mount Scopus campus of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with the exception of the Architecture department, which is housed in the historic Bezalel building in downtown Jerusalem. In 2009 it was announced that Bezalel will be relocated to a new campus in the Russian Compound, as part of a municipal plan to revive Jerusalem's downtown. The new Bezalel campus is planned by the Tokyo-based award-winning architectural firm SANAA.

Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design
בצלאל, אקדמיה לאמנות ועיצוב
Former names
Bezalel School
Art school
FounderBoris Schatz
PresidentAdi Stern
Bezalel Academy of Art and Design logo


Boris schatz - 001
Boris Schatz, founder of Bezalel
Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, professor of Hebrew at Bezalel
Bezalel, 1913
Boris Schatz outside the Bezalel campus, Jerusalem, 1913
Bezalel drawing class under direction of Abel Pann 1912
Bezalel drawing class under direction of Abel Pann, 1912

The Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts was founded in 1906 by Boris Schatz, who envisaged the creation of a national style of art blending classical Jewish/Middle Eastern and European traditions. The school opened in rented premises on Ethiopia Street. It moved to a complex of buildings constructed in the 1880s surrounded by a crenelated stone wall, owned by a wealthy Arab. In 1907, the property was purchased for Boris Schatz by the Jewish National Fund. Schatz lived on the campus with his wife and children.[1] Bezalel's first class consisted of 30 young art students from Europe who successfully passed the entrance exam. Eliezer Ben Yehuda was hired to teach Hebrew to the students, who hailed from various countries and had no common language.[2] His wife, Hemda Ben-Yehuda, worked as Boris Schatz's secretary.[3]

In addition to traditional sculpture and painting, the school offered workshops that produced decorative art objects in silver, leather, wood, brass, and fabric. Many of the craftsmen were Yemenite Jewish silversmiths who had a long tradition of working in precious metals, as silver- and goldsmithing, which had been traditional Jewish occupations in Yemen. Yemenite immigrants were also frequent subjects of Bezalel artists.

Many of the students went on to become well-known artists, among them Meir Gur Aryeh, Ze'ev Raban, Shmuel Ben David, Ya'ackov Ben-Dov, Zeev Ben-Zvi, Jacob Eisenberg, Jacob Pins, Jacob Steinhardt and Hermann Struck.[4]

In 1912, Bezalel had one female student, Marousia (Miriam) Nissenholtz, who used the pseudonym Chad Gadya.[5]

Bezalel closed in 1929 in the wake of financial difficulties. After Hitler's rise to power, Bezalel's board of directors asked Josef Budko, who had fled Germany in 1933, to reopen it and serve as its director.[6] The New Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts opened in 1935, attracting many teachers and students from Germany, many of them from the Bauhaus school shut down by the Nazis.[7] Budko recruited Jakob Steinhardt and Mordecai Ardon to teach at the school, and both succeeded him as directors.[6]

In 1958, the first year that the prize was awarded to an organization, Bezalel won the Israel Prize for painting and sculpture.[8]

In 1969, Bezalel became a state-supported institution. In 1975 it was recognized by the Council for Higher Education in Israel as an institute of higher education.[9] It completed its relocation to Mount Scopus in 1990.

Bezalel pavilion

Migdal david008
Bezalel Pavilion near Jaffa Gate

Bezalel pavilion was a tin-plated wooden structure with a crenelated roof and tower built outside Jaffa Gate in 1912. It was a shop and showroom for Bezalel souvenirs. The pavilion was demolished by the British authorities six years later.

Bezalel style

Bezalel developed a distinctive style of art, known as the Bezalel school, which portrayed Biblical and Zionist subjects in a style influenced by the European jugendstil (art nouveau) and traditional Persian and Syrian art. The artists blended "varied strands of surroundings, tradition and innovation," in paintings and craft objects that invokes "biblical themes, Islamic design and European traditions," in their effort to "carve out a distinctive style of Jewish art" for the new nation they intended to build in the ancient Jewish homeland.[10]


Здание академии искусств Бецалель
Bezalel on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem

In 2006, the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design celebrated its 100th anniversary. Today, it is located on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem and has 1,500 students. Faculties include Fine Arts, Architecture, Ceramic Design, Industrial Design, Jewelry, Photography, Visual Communication, Animation, Film, and Art History & Theory. The architecture campus is in downtown Jerusalem, in the historic Bezalel building. Bezalel offers Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.), Bachelor of Design (B.Des.) degrees, a Master of Fine Arts in conjunction with Hebrew University,two different Master of Design (M.des) degrees and Theory and Policy of art (M.A.)

The academy has plans to move back to the city center.[11]

In 2011, the Bezalel student show at the Milan Furniture Fair was described as a "lively runner-up" for the best exhibit.[12]

Notable alumni

Notable faculty

See also


  1. ^ "The Bezalel artistic legacy flourishes in Jerusalem". The Times of Israel.
  2. ^ "Albert Rubin catalogue" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-08-18. Retrieved 2014-11-25.
  3. ^ "The long-lost daughter of the father of Israeli art". 12 January 2013.
  4. ^ Ze'ev Raban, A Hebrew Symbolist, by Batsheva Goldman Ida, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, 2001
  5. ^ "I lived life to the fullest".
  6. ^ a b "When Budko met Bialik".
  7. ^ "Israeli Art On Its Way to Somewhere Else".
  8. ^ "Israel Prize recipients in 1958 (in Hebrew)". Israel Prize Official Site. Archived from the original on February 8, 2012.
  9. ^ המועצה להשכלה גבוהה - מאגר מוסדות [Council for Higher Education Registry of Institutes]. (in Hebrew). Archived from the original on February 7, 2009. Retrieved August 4, 2010.
  10. ^ Rothstein, Edward (June 10, 2009). "MUSEUM REVIEW - DERFNER JUDAICA MUSEUM, Jewish Art, the Hudson and Bingo in the Bronx". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Zohar, Gil (November 2, 2006). "Artful move". Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on May 27, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  12. ^ Rawsthorn, Alice (18 April 2011). "Milan's Furniture Whirlwind" – via

Further reading

  • Gil Goldfine, "Zeev Raban and the Bezalel style," Jerusalem Post, 12-14-2001
  • "Dalia Manor, Biblical Zionism in Bezalel Art," Israel Studies 6.1 (2001) 55-75".
  • The "Hebrew Style" of Bezalel, 1906–1929, Nurit Shilo Cohen, The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts, Vol. 20. (1994), pp. 140–163
  • Manor, Dalia, Art in Zion: The Genesis of National Art in Jewish Palestine, published by Routledge Curzon (2005)
  • "Crafting a Jewish Style: The Art of the Bezalel Academy, 1906–1996", 2000-08-26 until 2000-10-22, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts

External links

Coordinates: 31°47′35″N 35°14′50″E / 31.793056°N 35.247222°E

Adi Stern

Adi Stern (born 1966) is an Israeli graphic designer, type designer, and the President of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem.

Barbara Goldschmidt

Barbara Goldschmidt (1921 - March 7, 2013) was an Israeli painter. Born in Germany, she emigrated to Israel in 1938 and attended the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. She painted many portraits of women.

Dafna Kaffeman

Dafna Kaffeman (born 1972, Jerusalem) is an artist and a senior lecturer at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. She works with glass and fabrice to produce what the David Owsley Museum of Art describes as "beautiful crafted surfaces and disturbing text about aggressors and victims". She lives and works in Israel. Her work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions, and she has won, or been nominated for, a number of international prizes and awards.

David Mezach

David (Dudu) Mezach (born 1955) is an Israeli multidisciplinary artist. He is head of the Screen-Based Arts Department at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design.David Mezach was born in Haifa. He graduated from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in 1981.

In July–August 2006, Mezach curated and organized an end-of-the-year exhibit of the work of Bezalel students at Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod. The exhibit, Bezalel 100/Terminal, covering 15,000 square meters on two floors of the terminal, displayed thousands of works by 400 students. It was viewed by 75,000 visitors.

David Polonsky

David Polonsky (born 1973) is a Ukraine-born Israeli book illustrator an artistic film director.His illustrations appeared in all major Israeli magazines and newspapers and illustrated many children's books, for which he received multiple awards. He also directed children's animated TV films. He taught illustration at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design.In 2017, he and Ari Folman created a graphic novel adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank.

Esti Almo Wexler

Esti Almo Wexler or Esti Almo is an Ethiopian-Israeli film director, writer, and cinematographer. Along with her husband Elad, she is the founder of Abayenesh Productions. her works strive to tell the stories and hardships of Israeli-Ethiopian Jews.

Itamar Freed

Itamar Freed is an Israeli artist.

Joram Rozov

Joram Rozov (Hebrew: יורם רוזוב‎; born 1938) is an Israeli artist. He was a professor of art at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design.

Jumana Emil Abboud

Jumana Emil Abboud (Arabic: جمانة إميل عبّود‎, born 1971) is a Palestinian artist living and working in Jerusalem.She was born in Shefa-'Amr, Galilee and came to Ontario, Canada with her parents in 1979. She studied at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto. In 1991, she moved to Jerusalem where she studied at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, receiving a BFA and continuing there with post-graduate studies.Abboud has used drawing, video, performance, objects and text in her work which deals with memory, both personal and collective history, loss and resilience. She was a finalist for the Celeste Prize in 2013.She has had solo exhibitions in Tel Aviv, at the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art and at the Forum Schlossplatz in Aarau, Switzerland. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the Venice Biennale, the Istanbul Biennial. the Bahrain National Museum in Manama, the Arab World Institute in Paris, The Jerusalem Show, the Darat al Funun in Amman, at the Carré d'Art in Nîmes. at the Gallery for Contemporary Arts in Leipzig and at the Museo Fundacion Antonio Perez in Cuenca.

Kenneth Segal

Kenneth Segal (Hebrew: קֶנִי סֶגַל; born 4 April 1959) is an industrial designer and an educator. He is the founder and head of the department of industrial design at Shenkar College and Hadassah College in Jerusalem and an associate professor at Hadassah Academic College. He graduated in the 1990s from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design and has been instrumental in revolutionizing the field of design and design education in Israel during the last two decades. Segal has co-founded and spearheaded PublicZone-Transportation Ltd, one of the leading design companies in Israel focusing and specializing in large-scale public transportation projects.

Lazar Krestin

Lazar Krestin (10 September 1868, Kaunas – 28 February 1938, Vienna) was an artist famous in the German art world for Judaic genre scenes and his many sober portraits of Eastern European Jews. He was also a noted Zionist.

His father was a Talmud teacher. His first lessons were at the drawing school in Vilnius, followed by studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna and the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich and he was one of the most prominent students of Isidor Kaufmann. He worked in Munich, Vienna and Odessa before going to Jerusalem in 1910 at the request of Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design founder, Boris Schatz. He later returned to Vienna and is buried in the Zentralfriedhof.

Maayan Strauss

Maayan Strauss (Hebrew: מעין שטראוס‎, born in 1982 in Jerusalem) is an Israeli artist.

Strauss studied architecture at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. She has exhibited in several galleries and art projects, such as the project "Sharon", that suggests, according to curator Joshua Simon, "an unlikely connection between the most affluent region in Israel, and the name of the Israeli PM." [1]

Maayan Strauss studied at the Yale Photography MFA and graduated in 2012.

Merav Shinn Ben-Alon

Merav Shinn Ben-Alon (1965) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Tel-Aviv.

Moshe Zabari

Moshe Zabari (born 1935, Jerusalem) is an Israeli artist known for his silver Judaica.

He studied under Ludwig Yehuda Wolpert and David Gumbel at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem.Zabari was artist-in-residence for almost three decades at New York's Jewish Museum. He returned to his native Israel in the 1980s. He is known for his modernist approach, a reviewer described his 1998 sculpture, "Death by Stoning," as "elegant and beautiful," despite describing a "terrible act of violence."In 1990 he was awarded the Jesselson Prize for Contemporary Judaica Design.In 2015 Zabari was honoured with a Retrospective at the Jerusalem Biennale.

Ohad Milstein

Ohad Milstein (Hebrew: אוהד מילשטיין‎; born 1973) is an Israeli documentary filmmaker, photographer and video artist, located in Israel, Tel Aviv. His Films show cinematic & artistic components within the narrative and the constructive-formalistic aspects.

Milstein studied Cinema at Tel Aviv University from 1996 to 2000, and Photography & art at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design from 2003 to 2005.

As A film maker Milstein has a distinctive cinematic language combining art and documentary cinema in an innovative revolutionary Para documentary genre.

His film Obsession premiered at the 2008 DocAviv Film Festival.

His Film 50.14N 41.46W (the point in which the RMS Titanic ship sunk, attended in international film and video dance festivals in Greece, Spain & Russia.

Osvaldo Romberg

Osvaldo Romberg (born 1938) is an Argentine artist, curator, and professor who has lived and worked in Philadelphia, New York, and Isla Grande, Brazil.

Romberg was born in Buenos Aires. His parents were Russian Jews who emigrated to Argentina. He studied architecture at the University of Buenos Aires between 1956 and 1962. He subsequently taught art at the Universities of Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Puerto Rico and Tucuman until 1973, when he emigrated to Israel, teaching at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design for 20 years. In 1993, he began teaching at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. His paintings, books, installations, films, and architectural watercolors have been exhibited internationally. He is currently Senior Curator at Slought Foundation.

Rivka Saker

Rivka Saker (Hebrew: רבקה סאקר‎) is a philanthropist and art collector. Based in New York and Tel Aviv, she serves as a chairman of the Sotheby's Israel, and the founder and board chair of Artis. In 2004, Saker founded Artis, a non-profit art organization to support Israeli artists and to create opportunities for their exposure abroad. She helped support projects by Israeli artists including Yael Bartana, Gilad Ratman, Naama Tsabar, and Ariel Schlesinger.Saker was born in Tel Aviv, Israel. She earned her bachelor's degree in Economics and Art History from the University of Haifa. Upon graduation, she attended Haifa's Technion Institute of Technology where she received her Master of Arts degree in Urban Planning. In 1982, Saker joined Sotheby's and established the first Sotheby's office in Israel. In 2006, Saker was appointed Chairman of Sotheby's Israel. She is also currently acting as a board member of Sotheby's Europe.Saker serves on the board of various cultural institutions, including the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Association of Israel's Decorative Arts, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. She also co-chairs "Here and Now", a committee for acquisitions of Israeli art for the Israel Museum. In 2013, Saker was named one of the top 10 influential people in Israel's art scene by Haaretz.

Salomon Bernstein

Salomon or Schlomo Bernstein (1886 in Uzda, Belarus – 1968 in Holon, Israel) was a painter. He completed art studies in Vilnius, Odessa as well as at École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris. He immigrated to Israel in 1914, and studied at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. He was one of the founders of the Hebrew Artists’ Association in 1920.

Yehudit Sasportas

Yehudit Sasportas (b 1969) is an Israeli artist. She is active in Israel and Germany. In 1997 she was awarded the Ingeborg Bachman Scholarship for her work and in 1999 the Nathan Gottesdiener Foundation prize.


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.