Maurycy Gottlieb 1856 - 1879  
Last Update: February 17, 2007

Christ Before His Judges

Maurycy Gottlieb, Christ Before His Judges painted approximately 1877 - 1879
The Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Their web site is here.


Click thumbnails to view:



Additional Miscellaneus images

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By Jerzy Malinowski
Published by Arkady
(Warsaw, 1997),
ISBN 83-213-3891-7.
84 pages, includes illustrations,
including reproductions of Gottlieb's canvases,
in color and black-and-white.


By Guralnik, Nehama.
Published by Tel Aviv Museum
of Art, Dvir Publishers, 1991.
Library of Congress Call
No.: N7255.P63G682 1991


By Ezra Mendelsohn
Published by Brandeis Univ;
ISBN: 1584651792; (December 2002)
336 pages

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Two emails I have received about a project documenting the lost Jewish community of Drohobycz, where Maurycy Gottlieb was born:

"I have seen your website about Maurycy Gottlieb and would like ot provide a link to it in the site for which I am webmaster. This site is dedicated to the History of the Jews in the Drohobycz District before the war and the virtual disappearance of the Jewish community and Jewish life there. Currently I am adding much more material to the site but you can see it as it is at the moment at

Drohobycz was quite wealthy and vibrant town and produced, as you know, not only Gottlieb but Bruno Schultz and other less well known writers and artists. I would like the visitors of my site to become more aware of the cultural richness of the community."


"I have just posted new revision of this website at

I am still in the process of correcting errors to the site and  also want to make additions, especially on the two great artists who were born in this town, Gottlieb and Bruno Schultz."

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MAURYCY (i.e, Moses, or Moshe) GOTTLIEB
NOTE: Maurycy Gottlieb is sometimes written as Maurycego Gottlieba.

The majority of the artwork in existence by Maurycy Gottlieb is in an unfinished state. For nearly a century the body of work he produced in his short life was thought to be small. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, lists of Gottlieb artwork began to appear from Eastern Europe, mostly from holdings in Poland, with now a total of some 300 known works world-wide.

One of eleven children to Isaac & Fanya Tigerman Gottlieb, Maurycy was enrolled at the Vienna Art Academy at fifteen. He later followed this with study under Polish painter Jan Matejko in Krakow. Within a half-year he had quit Matejko's studio angrily after repeatedly experiencing anti-semitism from the other art students. Gottlieb returned to Vienna and began a search for his Jewish roots; something vague for him as his parents had attempted to raise him in the then current secular school of "european enlightenment."

At the age of twenty he was awarded a gold medal at a Munich art competition for the painting Shylock and Jessica, taken from Shakespeare's play Merchant of Venice (the painting is considered ost, only photographs survive. A color copy painted by another artist is here). The face for Jessica was modeled on Laura Rosenfeld, the unmarried daughter of a prosperous merchant family of Vienna. Gottlieb had proposed marriage to the girl, and was initially accepted, but was rejected shortly after.

It is believed that this rejection played the primary role in Gottlieb's death in 1879. Though he shortly was to arrange a marriage with Lvov native Lola Rosengarten, upon hearing of Laura Rosenfeld's marriage to a banker in Berlin, he apparently committed a form of suicide by exposure to the elements, succumbing to complications of a cold & sore throat. He was buried in Cracow, Poland.

As a Polish-Jewish artist, Gottlieb is unique. As a Polish painter, he is considered to be the best of his generation. Though reared as a secular Jew he steadily looked back toward a heritage he had been raised to be emancipated from. His painting Day of Atonement depicts himself twice as a child and once as we was at the age of painting the image. An inscription on the painting says "donated
in memory of the late honored teacher and rabbi moshe gottlieb of
blessed memory." His painting of Jesus, (Jesus preaching at Capernuam) an unusual subject for a Jewish artist before the 20th Century, depicts Jesus with prayer shawl & earlocks, speaking in synagogue. Gottlieb's many self-portraits usually show a contemporary 19th century urbanite, with an aloof, querying look.

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A review of the exhibit ''The Emergence of Jewish Artists in 19th-Century Europe'' at the Jewish Museum in New York. Review by the New York Times here.

A site about the Drohobycz District where Maurycy Gottlieb was born is here.

Bio with list of works (in Polish) here. has a brief (and somewhat tangled) English bio of Gottlieb plus a small landscape drawing attributed to him here.

The Tel Aviv Museum has Gottlieb's Day of Atonement with curator notes here.

Page promoting the book Painting a People: Maurycy Gottlieb and Jewish Art By Ezra Mendelsohn here.

Short bio with postcard image of Gottlieb's Uriel D'Acosta and Judith van Straaten here.

ARTNET has a bio from the Grove Dictionary of Artists here.

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A web page ("The Message Center") has information about Gottlieb artwork stolen in Poland by the Nazis during the Second World War here. Some of the artwork is described from a pre-war catalog as:

  1. Tulacz studjum ol. - - A portrait of an old man with a long white beard.
  2. Scena ëz ìFaustaî, szkic ol. - - A scene of a woman standing nextto an arch while two men look at her taking sacred water.
  3. Na balkonie szkic kompozycyjny ol. - - Scene of a woman with ahead dress reading on a balcony.
  4. Zygmunt August, studjum ol. - - Portrait of a man with dark hair

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From an email in 2004 I received about Gottlieb's Day of Atonement Picture:

"You may know that the women in this painting were removed from the painting when a reproduction was made for the Diaspora museum."

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This web page is by Erik Weems.
My home page is


This web site about Maurycy Gottlieb is by Erik Weems and is an effort to share research and an exercise in web site design.
Biography text above written by Erik Weems Copyright 1999-2007. Original and reproduction images are the copyright of their owners and are presented here for the benefit of students and interested parties in the works of Maurycy Gottlieb.