Paper One - Jana Vytrhlik, "Judaica Australiana: an emerging theme in the history of art"

2 November, 2017
5.00 p.m.

In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the Jewish community of Sydney was reaching the pinnacle of its development. The opening of the Great Synagogue on Elizabeth Street in 1878 was a loud and visionary statement of a confident congregation. It seemed to herald an era of a unified and independent identity.
In this paper, I discuss the iconography and significance of three objects of Jewish culture and religion, broadly called Judaica. Focussing on the oldest ceremonial silver ornament used in an Australian synagogue, a large hand-illuminated folio dated 1879, and a unique gold presentation piece of the early gold-rush Victoria, I consider the evolving Australian Jewish identity and its visual manifestation. I argue that by introducing a largely unexplored angle of examination – the art history – we can gain a new understanding of the layers of the Jewish community awareness and cultural aspirations.

Jana Vytrhlik, PhD candidate
(Department of Art History)


Location: Schaeffer Seminar Room 210, RC Mills Building A26, Fisher Rd, University of Sydney

Contact:Lucy Baird
Phone:+61 2 9351 3566