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Arthur SzykArtist, Jew, Pole$
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Joseph P. Ansell

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774945

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774945.001.0001

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From The Haggadah to The Rubáiyát

From The Haggadah to The Rubáiyát

(p.92) From The Haggadah to The Rubáiyát
Arthur Szyk

Joseph P. Ansell

Liverpool University Press

This chapter primarily discusses the background and context of Arthur Szyk's most enduring work, The Haggadah. It also provides an analysis of the work and its publication. For much of the 1930s, Szyk had been working on this illustrated and illuminated book — his version of the Haggadah, the prayer book used by the Jews for the celebration of Passover. The holiday of Passover commemorates the liberation and Exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. It is thus a celebration of freedom. The decision to work with this text had both art-historical precedent and contemporary political significance. So that work on The Haggadah could be completed and the many details of its production could proceed smoothly, the Szyks settled in London in 1937. Although the several years he spent with his family in London were occupied primarily with work on The Haggadah, Szyk also worked on two additional and very different major projects: a series of paintings on the history of Poles in America and a set of eight illustrations for The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám.

Keywords:   The Haggadah, London, England, Passover, art-historical precedent, The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, American Poles

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