There are three outstanding exhibitions showing in Israel at the moment - two in Jerusalem and one in Tel Aviv. Each focuses on an individual who was important and influential in his own way despite psychological problems and episodes of mental illness. Two achieved greatness. One led his country and the world to disaster.
The Kaiser is Coming!
|Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1905|
The Turks were as determined to honour their imperial guest as he was to strengthen his relationship with them. He was welcomed with great pomp and ceremony. Three great decorated arches were set up along his route to the Old City. The section of the city wall between the Jaffa Gate and the Citadel was torn down and the moat filled in to allow his entourage, complete with horses and carriages, to pass through. Beggars and stray dogs were banished from the city lest they give a bad impression.
|Wilhelm's Entourage by the Sultan's Arch|
Wilhelm saw himself as the patron of the Protestant church and wanted to leave a religious and architectural legacy of his visit to the Holy City. During his visit he dedicated the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in the Old City, acquired the land for the Augusta Victoria Hospice on the Mount of Olives and, in a gesture to German Catholics, laid the cornerstone of the Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion.
|Wilhelm's Tent Camp Jerusalem|
Wilhelm’s erratic and reckless foreign policy led to the carnage of the First World War and the downfall of his empire. He died in exile in the Netherlands in 1941.
There was huge press interest in the Kaiser's visit. An exhibition in Jerusalem's Tower of David cleverly combines 21st century technology and contemporary reports and photographs to bring this encounter between European and Levantine empires to life and to explore its impact on the city.
“The Kaiser is Coming!” is at the Tower of David in Jerusalem until April 6th 2013.
Van Gogh Alive
|Van Gogh - The Potato Eaters|
|Van Gogh - Self Portrait With Straw Hat|
In 1888 van Gogh moved to Arles in the south of France. For a time he worked there together with Gauguin but their relationship became increasingly tense. Van Gogh threatened Gauguin with a razor blade, but fled and used the razor to cut off his own earlobe. He descended into delusions and hallucinations and was admitted to an asylum in nearby Saint-Remy where he remained for a year. In May 1890 he moved to Auvers-sur-Oise, a suburb of Paris. On 27th July 1890, at the age of 37 he shot himself with a revolver and died the next day as a result of his wounds.
Van Gogh left a vast artistic legacy. He worked quickly producing over 2,000 works of art in ten years and averaging a painting a day during his last two months. He used bold, dramatic brush strokes that gave a sense of movement and emotion and often applied paint directly from the tube. Uniquely he used colour to express mood rather than realistically.
Van Gogh Alive is not a regular art exhibition. It is a dramatic multi-sensory experience. Large scale projections of over 2,000 of van Gogh’s works are synchronised with classical music. It takes you on a spellbinding journey through his life, his work, his thoughts and his state of mind.
“Van Gogh Alive” is at the Maxidome, Israeli Trade Fairs and Conventions Centre, Tel Aviv until April 30th 2013
Herod the Great: The King’s Final Journey
|Herod the Great|
|Model of Herod's Temple Israel Museum|
Josephus the Jewish historian of the Great Revolt describes in graphic detail Herod’s death in Jericho and the procession that accompanied him to his last resting place in Herodium.
“There was a solid gold bier, adorned with precious stones and draped with the richest purple. On it lay the body wrapped in crimson, with a diadem resting on the head and above that a golden crown, and the sceptre by the right hand. The bier was escorted by Herod's sons and the whole body of his kinsmen, followed by his Spearmen, the Thracian Company, and his Germans and Gauls, all in full battle order. The rest of his army led the way, fully armed and in perfect order, headed by their commanders and all the officers, and followed by five hundred of the house slaves and freed-men carrying spices. The body was borne twenty-four miles to Herodium, where by the late king’s command it was buried.” Josephus, Wars, I, 33, 9.
|Herodium from above|
This world class exhibition represents Herod’s final journey from Jericho where he died, through the Judean Desert to Herodium where he was laid to rest. The richly decorated throne room of Herod’s Winter Palace in Jericho and the royal box of his theatre at Herodium have been reconstructed together with his sarcophagus and elaborate mausoleum. These and many other original artefacts are on display for the first time.
“Herod the Great: The King’s Final Journey” is at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem until October 5th 2013