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Israeli Art: Portrait(s) of a Nation


Admission requirements

Students should preferably have completed the course Jews & Judaism. An Introduction (or other introductory courses on Judaism).


This is a survey course of Israeli art and Israeli ideology. We will study the various periods in the formation of Israeli art, from the pre-state period of the inception of the Zionist movement until the present. The development of Israeli ideology as reflected in the art work will be the particular focus of the course.

Course objectives

  • The student will become familiar with the various periods into which Israeli art may be divided.

  • The student will gain knowledge of the development of Zionist ideology and the ideology of the state of Israel.

  • The student will learn to discern the reflection of ideology in the art works and/or in exhibitions of Israeli art in Israel’s museums.


The timetable is available on the Religiewetenschappen

Mode of instruction

Lectures, films and class discussion. Excursion if possible.

Course Load

Total course load 5 EC x 28 hours= 140 hours

  • Lectures: 13 weeks x 2 hours per week = 26 hours

  • Study of literature and discussion of a maximum length of 1 A4 on one art work weekly = 52 hours

  • Practical exercise: presentation of 20 minutes during class = 10 hours

Final paper: 52 hours

N.B. attendance is compulsory

Assessment method

The final grade will be based on:

  • class participation including the written discussion of art works (20%) and

  • the results of the final paper (80%).
    In order to pass a minimum grade of 5.5 must be received for participation and a 5 for the paper. The weighted average of the two must be no less than a 6.
    The practical exercise will not be graded. However, failure to fulfill the exercises will result in a a lower or even failing grade.
    There is no opportunity to repeat the class presentations if unsatisfactory.

Rewrites of the weekly assignments must be submitted within one week.
Rewrites of the final paper must be submitted within two weeks of receiving a failing grade.


Blackboard will be used for:
notifications, weekly schedule, reading assignments, uploading assignments

Reading list

Capita selecta from:
D. LeVitte Harten, Die Neuen Hebräer. 100 Jahre Kunst in Israel (Nicolai 2005)
Y. Zalmona, A Century of Israeli Art (Lund Humphries in association with the Israel Museum 2013)
H. Sachar, A History of Israel. From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time, 2 vol (Knopf 1996)
E. Kaplan and D. Penslar, The Origins of Israel. 1882-1948 (University of Wisconsin Press 2011)
T. Segev, 1949. The First Israelis (Henry Holt 1998)
Z. Sternhell, The Founding Myths of Israel (Princeton University Press 1997)
The assigned literature will be available on the reserved shelf in the university library. Sternhell is available online via the university library.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch


The instructor can be reached by email via: “”