2013 | 75 | 2 | 295-310
Article title

Opowieść o Przymierzu i czasach ostatecznych. Próba analizy ikonograficznej malowideł sklepienia synagogi w Gwoźdźcu

Title variants
Tale of the Covenant and the End Times. An Attempted Iconographic Analysis of the Vault Paintings from the Gwoździec Synagogue
Languages of publication
The main prayer hall of the Gwoździec synagogue was built before 1648. In the 18 th c. the vault was altered to acquire a tent-like structure. Respective polychrome parts were executed in 1652-1729. The 17 th -c. paintings were by Izaak Ber and his son, while the 18th-c. ones by Icchak son of Jehuda Lejba ha Kohen and Izrael Liśnicki, both from Jaryczów. The synagogue’s vault features three circles, broken with pendentives. The first circle is formed by the Signs of the Zodiac accompanied by their names and names of the Jewish months. An assumption can be made that these refer to the moment of the world’s creation. The second circle alludes to the Messianic Age, while the third continues with the praise of Adonai for his creative Power. The interpretation of the paintings has its source in two mystical texts: Sefer Yetzirah and Perek Shirah, while the structure of the whole synagogue may have been inspired by the Zohar. The paintings from the Gwoździec synagogue vault are hard to be unequivocally interpreted. The author’s suggested interpretations stems from the praise of the Lord as creator, His mercy, and care of the Chosen People.
Physical description
  • Warszawa
  • Carlebach Elisheva, „Two Amens That Delayed the Redemption: Jewish Messianism and Popular Spirituality in the Post-Sabbatian Century”, The Jewish Quarterly Review 1992, nr 82.
  • Hubka Thomas, Resplendent Synagogue: Architecture and Worship in an Eighteenth-century Polish Community, Hanover, NH, 2003.
  • Piechotkowie Maria i Kazimierz, Bożnice drewniane, Warszawa 1957.
  • Rodov Ilia, „The Eagle, its Twin Heads and Many Faces: Synagogue Chandeliers Surmounted by Double-Headed Eagles”, Studia Rosenthaliana 2004, t. 37.
  • Wyganowska Wanda, „O odkryciu polichromii bożnicy drewnianej w Gwoźdźcu pod Kołomyją”, Rocznik Historii Sztuki 1988, t. XVII.
  • Yaniv Bracha, „Praising the lord: Discovering a Song of Ascents on Carved Torach Arks in Eastern Europe”, Ars Judaica 2006, nr 2.
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.