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Israel Museum Explores the Seasons with Works by Pissarro, Rodin, Sisley, and Others
Charles-François Daubigny, (French, 1817–1878), Apple Trees in Blossom, 1860–62. Oil on panel. Images courtesy of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

JERUSALEM.- The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, opened a new exhibition exploring the visual depiction of the four seasons in European art from the 16th century onward. The Four Seasons, on view through December 2011, examines the connection among art, mythology, and folklore in agrarian societies dependant on the cycle of the seasons. More recent works demonstrate changes in this theme's depiction by artists in modern urban society. The exhibition includes approximately 30 paintings, prints, sculptures, photographs, and porcelain figurines, drawn largely from the collections of the Israel Museum.

The depiction of the seasons has been a popular genre throughout the history of art, and especially during the Renaissance and Baroque periods, based on an academic approach that used a standard set of landscapes and symbols. In the 16th -18th centuries, painters, print-makers, and porcelain artists explored the changes in weather and the passing of time through the changes in landscape, and in man's attire, and through well-known events connected with each season, such as winter sports or summer courting.

Beginning in the 19th century, as artists more frequently left their studios to paint outdoors, the portrayal of seasons became more colorful and impressionistic, focusing less on agrarian society and more on cityscapes and urban life. The Four Seasons examines this point of transition in the history of art through works by Peter Breughel the Younger, Isaac Levitan, Camille Pissarro, Auguste Rodin, Jacob Ruysdael, Lesser Ury, and others. These works are complemented by contemporary works by such artists as Eldar Farber, Noa Shai and Yuval Yairi created in the style of the Old Masters.

Among the highlights on view are:

• The New Church, Amsterdam, oil on canvas, 1641, by Jan Abrahamsz Beerstraten, the Dutch painter noted for his winter scenes of 17th century Amsterdam.

• Scandinavian Landscape, oil on canvas, 1650, by Dutch artist Allaert van Everdingen, one of the first painters to depict nature as a Romantic experience, before the style became popular in the late-18th – early-19th century.

• The Last Snow, oil on canvas, 1884, by Isaac Ilyitch Levitan, the eminent Russian landscapist who significantly influenced modern Russian art. This is a rare example of his melancholic landscapes.

The exhibition is curated by Shlomit Steinberg, Hans Dichand Curator of European Art.

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