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The Art Of Exultation: Miniature Paintings Of Jewish Tradition

When Julia Agranovitz first came to Israel in 1993 from her native Russia, she was confronted with the beauty and complexity of the holy land.  Searching for a way to channel her artistic talents and her new found passion, she began painting on small scale canvases. Julia also prints lithograph on canvas as well, both methods requiring great attention to detail and excellent workmanship.

When looking at her oeuvre, it is obvious to see the multiple influences on her work, but Jewish themes are at the core of her pieces. Her miniature art reflects the elusive mystery of Israel’s landscape and the diversity of its culture. Encapsulated in these five small scale canvases are snapshots of Jewish tradition and Jewish history.  Each canvas is bordered and framed in faux gold.

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  1. Winter Sabbath candles: Agranovitz’s “Winter Sabbath Candles” is a stunning abstract portrayal of the Friday night ritual incumbent on most observant Jewish women. Two candles, the traditional minimum amount a woman is supposed to light, representing the two commandments of “remembering” and “observing” the Sabbath, are bathed in a blue background. Shades of burgundy and pink frame the edge of the canvas creating a composition of opposites: of darkness and light, of vividness and dullness. At the center are the two candles, standing peacefully amidst the chaos of the world
  2. Jerusalem Moonlit Wedding: In this painting Agranovitz echoes Chagall’s imagery, the bride and groom almost floating in the night sky with a band of Jewish musicians escorting them. Both the bride and groom are wearing white garments, the groom sporting a Kitel, a robe commonly worn on holidays or at weddings as a symbol of purity and elevation. The payot and the hats adorning some of the fingers have a distinctly “old country” feel, and evoke scenes of traditional Russian Jewish communities.
  3. Bird’s Eye View of Jerusalem: This stunning depiction of the Jerusalem skyline perfectly captures Israel’s ancient and modern capital in a breathtaking snapshot. For such a small canvas, Agranovitz manages to harness her artistic skills and capture the essence of the city in careful brushstrokes. The composition is executed brilliantly, the browns, blues, greens and golds forming the biblical heart of the world.
  4. The Kotel: The most iconic remnant of King Solomon’s temple, the Western Wall, known in Hebrew as the Kotel, is a common subject for artists. Yet it remains larger than life. Even in this miniature sized canvas, the grandeur and awe of the edifice are somehow conveyed, and each individual worshiper depicted with fine detail. The figures represent the diverse backgrounds of the Wall’s admirers, and emphasizes the fact that the Wall is valued universally.
  5. Spring Flowers Mini Art: In this canvas, Agranovitz channels her still life abilities and adds a modernist touch to it. Mimicking artists like Van Gogh and Cézanne, the vase of flowers painted so artfully on this miniature canvas is real and without tacky embellishment. As in her other canvases, Agranovitz creates a fine art style that would be a beautiful addition to any decor.

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Though small, these paintings create a grand effect. Jewish traditions are conveyed through modern art to create a both meaningful and trendy atmosphere to your home decor.

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