Last month, the Hebrew University’s Center for Jewish Art made its massive collection of images of works of Jewish art and architecture from around the world available online. Claire Voon describes the project:
[T]he website features over 260,000 entries that catalogue a wide range of objects, artifacts, and sites from 41 countries, dating from antiquity to recent years. Over one-third of them are characterized as Jewish ritual architecture, . . . while researchers have organized the rest into five other groups: Hebrew illuminated manuscripts, sacred and ritual objects, Jewish cemeteries, ancient Jewish art, and modern Jewish art. . . .
The images of paintings, sculptures, architectural drawings, and much more are the fruits of a 30-year effort to document Jewish art kept in museums, private collections, synagogues, and other cultural institutions. Since its establishment in 1979, the Center for Jewish Art has recruited a small group of professionals and graduate students who have traveled around the world to seek out objects and buildings; their travels have brought them to cemeteries in Egypt, a modernist synagogue in Croatia, and museums of all kinds, from the Omsk State History Museum in Russia to the Ulcinj Museum of Archaeology in Montenegro. The collection required an additional six years to digitize. . . .
Unfortunately some of the buildings and objects on the website no longer exist or may be nearly impossible to access. At times, the team photographed artworks at auction before they disappeared into private collections.