In the church scene, the Jews portray a variety of emotions, from indifference and boredom to anxiety, as the priest aggressively preaches to the crowd. In the synagogue scene the crowd is sufficiently at home in their environment that they casually ignore the official proceedings, preferring instead to converse among themselves while children play boisterously among the pews.
Hess’s perceptive compositions achieve a high level of social satire and are among his most well-known and frequently reproduced works.
Vivian B. Mann, Gardens and Ghettos: The Art of Jewish Life in Italy, 1989, cat. no. 93, pp. 254-255, no illustration (another example)
Moritz Oppenheim: The First Jewish Painter. Ex. cat. p. 89, cat. no. V.3, b/w illustration on p. 59
Margarete Pfister-Burkhalter, Hieronymus Hess 1799-1850, 1952, pls. 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b (another example)
Alfred Rubens, A Jewish Iconography, 1982, Synagogue Interior illustrated no. 1693
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