The art scene in Israel had its beginnings in the early part of the 20th century when the rebirth of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel was beginning to take shape.
Isr...ael's leading school of the visual arts – Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Art and Design - was established in 1906 by sculptor Boris Schatz. Named for Bezalel Ben Uri - the first artist mentioned in the Bible - its establishment is considered the first major milestone in the development of art in modern Israel.
The first works of art to emerge from Bezalel were of a traditional Jewish and Biblical nature. Gradually, however, a modern secular ideology emerged and art disassociated from religious, Diaspora-oriented traditions began to develop. This movement, known as the “Rebels of Bezalel”, sought to pay homage to the Middle East and the “New Jew” by depicting the landscape and local people of the country, and its members sought to express their newfound identity as “Hebrew” rather than “Jewish” artists. This movement was established by Avraham Melnikov Yosef Zaritzky, and Reuven Rubin, and is considered to have had a major influence upon many aspects of Israeli life to this day.
Bezalel underwent numerous changes until it became the leading academy for art and design and moved to its present Jerusalem location on the Mount Scopus campus of the Hebrew University.
Throughout the school's existence Bezalel graduates have taught young artists who have pursued many new directions and broadened the landscape of local creativity to encompass other institutions, museums, and galleries both in Israel and abroad.
Israel art is displayed in museums and galleries throughout the country. Indeed, there are more museums per capita in Israel than in any country on earth. Information about current exhibits is available at: www.ilmuseums.com.