The Israel Museum in Jerusalem is hosting a provocative new exhibition.
At the centre of the display is a life-size, marble statue of Jesus wearing a kippah, titled “Christ Before the People’s Court”.
The figure, created by Russian Jewish artist Mark Antokolsky in 1876, is part of a collection of more than 150 artworks by 40 Jewish and Israeli artists designed to challenge and showcase religious attitudes in the Christian and Jewish communities.
Ziva Amishai-Maisels, a professor emeritus at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem who specializes in Christian imagery in Jewish art, said that observant Jews were unlikely to visit the exhibition, titled Behold the Man: Jesus in Israeli Art. She told the Washington Post: “Those who do go might be stunned,” she said, “but I don’t think they will react badly.”
Among the exhibits are Marc Chagall’s Yellow Crucifixion, which depicts the suffering of Jewish Holocaust victims through the image of Jesus Christ as a Jew. The painting is also a comment on an old European tradition of using the crucifixion of Jesus as an excuse to persecute Jews.
Perhaps the best-known contemporary artwork on display is Adi Nes’s depiction of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, which substitutes Israeli soldiers for the apostles. Mr Nes’s photograph sold at Sotheby’s for $250,000, the highest an Israeli photograph has ever fetched.