Wall painting and book painting: When synagogues with pictorial narratives were opened during archaeological excavations in Palestine in the interwar period, it turned out that late ancient Judaism was by no means hostile to images. The frescoes found during the excavations of the synagogue of Dura-Europos (3rd century BC) in 1932 prove that this had even produced entire pictorial programs.
After the wall paintings of the synagogue of Dura-Europos, the illuminated Hebrew manuscripts, which were created in the 9th and 10th centuries in the Egyptian region, are the oldest known examples of painting in Judaism, even if this painting (not least due to the influence of the Islamic Culture) reduced to abstract decor. The Hebrew manuscript illuminations that were made in Spain from 1200 onwards also emerged from the non-figurative Moorish ornamental art. The first known illustrated Hebrew manuscripts that were written on German soil date from the first half of the 13th century. If one tried initially to avoid concrete depictions of the human face, from the end of the 13th century religious legal reservations against these depictions no longer played a role. Magnificently illuminated and illustrated Hebrew manuscripts were also created in other western and northern European countries, as well as in Italy and, after the Reconquista, also in Spain. Well-known illustrators of the second half of the 15th century were Joel ben Simeon and Meir Jaffe. In many cases, however, the artists will not have been Jews, but Christians, to whom the client provided Jewish images. Iconographic parallels in manuscripts of different origins suggest the existence of such image templates. Another indication is the picture Bible (1st quarter of the 16th century) by the Italian engraver Moses dal Castellazzo († 1527), which, like a master book, shows the contents of the five books of Moses artistically amateurish, yet detailed and complete in terms of content.
According to carswers, Hebrew manuscript illustration experienced a renaissance in the Baroque era, when Jewish court factors included artists such as Aaron Wolf Herlingen (* 1700, † probably 1768), Jakob ben Juda Löw Schammasch († probably 1741) as well as Mose Löw Trebitsch and Joseph ben David (both active in the first Half of the 18th century) with the production of representative Passover haggadoth (Haggadah) or commissioned collections of blessings. A century earlier, the ornate embellishment of marriage contracts (ketubbot), especially in Italy, led to an art form of its own. With the invention of letterpress printing, woodcuts and copperplate engravings replaced the illuminated incunabula. Hebrew printing became a branch of religious Jewish art with centers in Venice, Soncino (near Cremona), Istanbul, Prague, Lviv, Warsaw, Vilnius and Amsterdam since the 15th century. The illustrations of the Mantuan (1560), the Venetian (1609) and the Amsterdam Haggadah (1695–1712), by Abraham bar Jakob based on models by M. Merian the Elder engraved, became standard illustrations. A special form of Jewish illumination is micrography, which has been documented since the 9th century (Moshe-ben-Asher-Codex, Tiberias, 895), which illustrates Hebrew books with small print by using small-type texts to fill marginalia, text columns and folio pages as decorative frames or used as ornaments and figures, with the animals and bestiaries particularly striking in the decorative figuration. Neither in Christianity nor in Islam has micrography achieved a comparable status. Another specifically Jewish art form was developed in the 17th century with the marginal illustration of Esther scrolls, the Shalom Italiaintroduced in Amsterdam. Finally, the maps and views of the Holy Land and Jerusalem, which emerged with the printing press and with the Christian yearning for Palestine and the Jewish return to Zion in the 19th century, were mass-produced for nostalgic Palestine prints for pilgrims and travelers the art of writing and writing.
Ceremonial art: The ceremonial art in the synagogue includes the wood-carved Torah shrine (Aron ha-Kodesch), wood-carved and stone dais, painted wall paneling, carved circumcision benches, textiles (Torah curtains, Torah cloaks, circumcision pennants, desk ceilings, wedding canopies), a round wooden storage container for oriental inner-Asian communities the Torah scroll (Tik), Torah jewelry, such as crowns, Torah attachments (decoration of the rods), Torah shields and hands, as well as lamps made of silver, brass, brass, iron, sheet metal, as well as Hanukkah candlesticks and the eternal light, Levite jug and bowl, donation box, Year time light. Domestic cabaret includes the mezuzah (capsule with Bible text on the door post of the Jewish house), Shabbat and Hanukkah lamps, Seder and Purim plates, Esther scrolls, Passover and Elijah cups, Shabbat blankets and mazza bags, spice containers and hawdala candle holders for the ceremony of the Shabbat exit, etrog jars for the citrus fruits used on the Feast of Tabernacles, decorated tablets or paper cuttings that show the east direction, special belt buckles for the New Year and the Day of Atonement. On the one hand, these Judaica always reflect formally, handcrafted and artistically the aesthetics of the environment and the time in which they were created (including the preference of the Jewish client, regardless of whether the artists were Jewish, Christian or Islamic), but on the other hand also their own traditional aesthetics that the specifically Jewish cult brings with it. In this respect, Jewish cult objects make the interfaces between non-Jewish culture and Jewish tradition visible. Their quality therefore lies not only in their religious and ritual, but also in their cross-border cultural dimension. Like architecture, ceremonial art was often carried out by non-Jewish artists in Central Europe in the Middle Ages and into the early 19th century due to the restrictive legal regulations.
It was not until Joseph II’s patent of tolerance that the conditions for access to Jews were liberalized in civil society and thus also in the liberal professions of the fine arts. The inexorably progressive emancipation of the Jews at the end of the 18th century and especially in the 19th century, despite setbacks, resulted in an increasingly active participation of Jews in the general development of art.