Visualizing Kabbalist Gestures

Wednesday, October 2nd 2019, 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Doug Adams Gallery, 2400 Ridge Road Berkeley, CA 94709

Visualizing Kabbalist Gestures: Egon Schiele, Max Oppenheimer, and the Language of the Viennese Jewish Body

In this talk, Dr. Timpano explores the appropriation of Jewish kabbalastic gestures by two Viennese painters in the early twentieth century: Egon Schiele and Max Oppenheimer. These artists, Timpano argues, cannily deployed figurations of the Nesi’at Kapayim (traditional hand blessing) to convey a sort of visual "secret language" between artists and their Jewish patrons. The circulation of this Jewish esoteric symbolism took place within the charged anti-Semitic attacks on Gustav Klimt (Schiele's teacher) for creating paintings that showed bodies as "diseased" and "therefore Jewish." By reinventing the Jewish body as the modern body, Klimt defied his detractors by creating a visual language that came to be more radically employed by Oppenheimer and Schiele a decade later.

Dr. Nathan J. Timpano is Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, and Head of Art History at the University of Miami (UM). His research focuses on the history of modern art & visual culture in Europe and the Americas, with a specialty in German and Austrian expressionism.


Co-sponsored by


The Doug Adams Gallery is the primary exhibition space for the Center for the Arts & Religion at the Graduate Theological Union.