La Synagogue

Jacques Emile Edouard Brandon (1831-1897) was interested in capturing an aspect of Jewish life. Brandon was fully ensconced in the French art world, closely associating with and influenced by such famous artists as Camille Corot and Edgar Degas. Indeed, Brandon exhibited at the very first and very controversial Impressionist exhibition of 1874 (La Salon des Refusée). Brandon began his career painting Christian scenes before turning by the late 1860s to Jewish subject matter. Living in the "golden age" of synagogues, a phrase that refers to the building of some 250 elaborate synagogues throughout France during the nineteenth century, Brandon was fascinated with the architectonic and aesthetic power of the synagogue. Brandon's imposing scenes illustrate the synagogue's physical centrality to Jewish life. Brandon was the first Jewish artist to consider the synagogue not just as a place of religious prayer and meditation but also as a temple of aesthetic worship and experience.

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