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Moshe Castel

 

BIOGRAPHY:

Moshe Castel (1909-1991) was born in Jerusalem in to a Sephardic Jewish family descended from Spain. The son of a Rabbi, Castel attended his father's school until the age of 13. He went on to study at the Bezalel Art School in Jerusalem, where he was encouraged by his teacher to study in Paris.

His early work reflected the School of Paris influence. Fleeing Paris at the outbreak of World War II, he settled in Safed, an artists' community in what was then Palestine. He helped to found the New Horizons group, which had an important impact on the modernization of Israeli art.

From the 1950's on, he produced relief paintings, inspired by what he called "ancient predecessors of the Hebrew civilization." A visit to the ruins of an ancient synagogue in Galilee, consisting of basalt blocks into which images and ornaments were cut, led him to use ground basalt, molded into shapes, as his basic material. He embellished the basalt with archaic forms, derived from ancient script, symbolism and mythological signs from Hebrew and Sumerian culture.

Mr. Castel carried out two major commissions for the Israeli Government, massive reliefs inspired by Assyrian motifs, for the Israeli parliament building and the residence of the President of Israel.
 
 
 
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