Hanukkah Lamps Selected By Maurice Sendak

December 20, 2011

Happy Hanukkah! The eight-day Jewish holiday also known as the “Festival of Lights,” which honors the redidication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd century CE, begins today. (If you’re unfamiliar with the details of the origin of this holiday—that’s what is for.)

To commemorate the holiday this year, the Jewish Museum in New York City has a display entitled “An Artist Remembers: Hanukkah Lamps Selected by Maurice Sendak.” (Sendak is of course the author and illustrator of such renowned works as Where the Wild Things Are.)

And excerpt from the website:

When going through the museum’s collection, the sheer number and variety of lamps struck a nerve, underscoring Sendak’s deep, lifelong sense of loss at the destruction of the prewar world of his Eastern European Jewish parents. Having movingly evoked that world in his drawings for Zlateh the Goat and Other Stories (1966) and In Grandpa’s House (1985), he surprised himself by mostly avoiding its rich visual language when choosing lamps for this presentation. “I stayed away from everything elaborate. I kept looking for very plain, square ones, very severe looking,” he explained. “Their very simplicity reminded me of the Holocaust. And I thought it was inappropriate for me to be thinking of elaboration.”

Sendak chose some truly remarkable lamps for this show, as you might imagine. Look at this:

The information:

Hanukkah Lamp
Palestine (Israel), c. 1880-1930
Limestone: chiseled, incised, and painted

Happy Hanukkah!

P.S. MSNBC’s Photo Blog says “Happy Hanukkah…From Space.”