Procession of the Law, by Solomon Alexander Hart (1806-1881). Left: The painting without its frame. Right: The painting shown in its frame. This oil painting dates from 1845, measures 94 x 1067 mm, and is on permanent loan from Norwood to the Jewish Museum, London, catalogue no. c 1974.2.25.3. Source: Google Art Project, which describes it as being in the Public Domain.

Detail of the central figures.

The setting is thought to be that of the synagogue at Livorno, Italy. The Jewish Museum explains, "This beautiful oil painting shows a special Jewish celebration called Simchat Torah which takes place in synagogues once a year." It also draws attention to the white prayer shawl (tallit) worn when reading from the Torah or when praying, and the use of candles, adding, "Light is very important in Judaism and is used to celebrate, remember and create a holy space." Hart has used light to great effect here, to illuminate the central group. For those who are familiar with the New Testament, the setting brings to mind depictions of several scenes in it, such as William Holman Hunt's The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple. — Jacqueline Banerjee


Google Art Project. Web. 12 September 2018.

"Procession of the Law." Google Arts and Culture. Web. 12 September 2018.

"Objects in Focus." Jewish Museum, London. Web. 12 September 2018.

Created 12 September 2018