- The six-pointed Jewish Star, known in Hebrew as the Magen David (lit. Shield of David) is a traditional symbol of medieval Judaism and the modern Zionist movement.
- The image of the ruined walls of Jerusalem was widely found in the Jewish visual art of this period associated with the Jewish national Renaissance.
- The woman with a lyre evoked both the ancient psalms and King David’s legendary musical gifts juxtaposed against the image of a Greek muse.
- The image of a Jewish pioneer in the land of Israel was a common motif in early Zionist art.
- The use of Greek columns suggests secular Western art and culture, which traditional religious Judaism strongly opposed.
- The winged lions or griffins were among a number of fantastical creatures that appeared in European Jewish folklore, often adorning manuscripts and synagogue walls.
- The iconic image of an Egyptian Pharaoh hinted at the ancient Near East and one of Jewish histories greatest foes.
- The signature of the artist B. Solomonov. Other than his name, his identity remains unknown.
- The Russian text reads “Program for a Concert Evening of Jewish National Musical Compositions at the Kharkov Branch of the Society for the Promotion of the Enlightenment among the Jews of Russia.” April 4, 1915
The Pro Musica Hebraica logo is derived from an image by the Russian Jewish artist B. Solomonov originally featured on the program to a concert of the Society for Jewish Folk Music.
The original concert took place on April 4, 1915 in the city of Kharkov. The Russian-lettered text indicates that this was the cover sheet to a program for a “Concert Evening of Jewish National Compositions” in Kharkov co-sponsored by the local branch of the Society for the Promotion of the Enlightenment among the Jews of Russia.
The artist’s imagery is typical of the early twentieth-century Jewish art movement that also included such masters as Marc Chagall, Ephraim Lillien, Leonid Pasternak, and Solomon Yudovin.
The original drawing aptly reflects the complex identity of Russian Jewish artists, combining several different images: the Zionist pioneers plowing the renewed Jewish homeland, with hints of the walls of Jerusalem in the background; iconic motifs from medieval European Jewish folk art, including the winged lions also found in some East European synagogues; the Hellenistic columns suggesting the secular Jewish embrace of the legacy of Greek art; and the female muse herself, with a lyre evoking biblical King David and his psalms.
This image was recovered from a copy preserved in the personal archive of composer Mikhail Gnesin (1883-1957). We are grateful to the Russian State Archives of Literature and Art in Moscow for permission to revive this image as the Pro Musica Hebraica logo.
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