"Jerusalem is the Venice of God." The verses of the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai took shape on Thursday, March 9, at St. Savior's Monastery, in the old city. In the hall of the curia, the exhibition "Venetian Treasures in Jerusalem: on the traces of the lion", originated from the collaboration between Terra Sancta Museum, the Library, the General Archive of the Custody and the U. Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art.
Curator of U. Nahon Italian Jewish Art Museum of Jerusalem
“This idea originated when I was arranging a large exhibition on Venice for the Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art. I knew the great tradition and the wonderful collection that the Franciscans treasure: I then became interested in doing some comparisons on the silver objects, because it seemed that they had some things in common."
Curator of the exhibition
"Objectively, the artists and craftsmen, the great artisans who produced these silvers and these fabrics for the Christian community were the same who worked for the Jewish community. Not surprisingly, the main theme of this exhibition is the lion, which is the very symbol of Venice and also the symbol of Jerusalem."
One year after the five hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the Venice ghetto, this exhibition displays some precious objects ranging from the year 1500 to the year 1800. Given to Jerusalem by the Venetian Republic, these gifts are a sign of a long relationship between the two cities, a religious, diplomatic and commercial relationship.
The exhibition is arranged according to different theme areas. It starts from the books, focusing on the two cities, on trips, on the relationship between Jews and Christians; it continues with the silver objects and the textiles used for liturgical use and it ends with a small section dedicated to ceramics, partly intended for pharmaceutical use and some intended for daily use.
"These ceramics are from the so called Venetian Po Valley. They are dated between the fourteenth and sixteenth century. Typically, only pieces of these ceramics are found. These ones, though, have a very special value, since I was able to reassemble them."
Fr. STÉPHANE MILOVITCH, ofm
Head of Office of Cultural Heritage of the Custody of the Holy Land
"We are very pleased to open this exhibition. The exhibition represents Venice in Jerusalem, and the Custody, being present here for many centuries, possesses a very important Venetian heritage in Jerusalem and especially here in St. Savior.
We are planning to open a museum in the future: it seems that the deadline should not be too remote now and today, the fact that we are able to see Venice exhibited here in St. Savior allows us to see the tip of the iceberg.”
"Jerusalem – Custos Francesco Patton emphasized during the inauguration - is a universal city, which opens to the world, but at the same time preserves its life." The exhibition, open until April 22 is free, in the hall of the Custodial Curia, and is, therefore, an occasion to build bridges not only between the Christian and Jewish communities, but also for anyone who is willing to let himself be touched by beauty.