The Wandering Image: Converting the Wandering Jew
Brichetto, Joanna L.
This project is concerned with visual images of the Wandering Jew, an antisemitic Christian legend. In this thesis I explore the appropriation of the figure by eleven Jewish artists beginning in the year 1899. The “conversion” of Wandering Jew imagery is a direct response to the fin de siècle dialectical interplay of modern antisemitism, modern Zionism, and modern Jewish art. <BR><BR> In Chapter I, I briefly describe the origins and functions of the antisemitic Wandering Jew legend, and examine the icon’s pernicious resonance with the traditions and political realities of Jewish wanderings. I also enumerate the attributes of stereotypical Wandering Jew images and explore two paradigmatic examples. In Chapter II, I analyze selected Jewish responses. My critical readings consider the presentation, representation, and context of the Wandering Jew figure, taking into especial account the manipulation of iconographical details. This undertaking explores social-historical influences while investigating each work as a document of its time and/or as a personal record of the artist.