|SOUNDING OF THE SHOFAR IN THE SYNAGOGUE|
Edouard Moyse (1827 - 1908)
Perhaps they have turned away their eyes to emphasis listening to, not seeing, shofar; or to appear disinterested in the spectacle in order to better concentrate on hearing or one's own prayers.
But how very different is the scene in the congregations where I have heard shofar during the Days of Awe. Hearing shofar is, now, more celebratory and visual. A performance and not a sacred rite.
Sold at auction by Sotheby's, their catalog says about this 42 by 33 cm oil on canvas, painted circa 1860:
Born in Nancy in 1827, Edouard Moyse moved to Paris at an early age to train as an artist with Martin Drolling at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Moyse was one of the most prominent Jewish artists of the Age of Emancipation in France, along with Edouard Brandon. Both Brandon and Moyse, although firmly grounded and well-trained in the French academic tradition, were somewhat influenced by the freedom of execution evidenced in the works of the Impressionists and the Barbizon School, as is evident here.
The subject of the blowing on the shofar on Rosh Hashana is relatively unusual amongst Jewish genre painters of the 19th century. Other important compositions by Moyse include The Covenant of Abraham (Sotheby's, Tel Aviv, 12 October, 1995, lot 208) and Synagogue during Reading of the Law (Sotheby's, New York, March 15, 2005, lot 155). Together with the present painting, these works evidently constitute a linked series of works epitomizing the high points of Jewish life - Brit, Torah and the sounding of the shofar. This last motif is an especially potent symbol of Judaism, marking as it does the New Year, the need for repentance and a memory of the Akeda (sacrifice of Isaac).
(www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2005/important-judaica-n08173/lot.226.html accessed 2013-05-23)