Idyllic kibbutz life was part of the romanticized founding ethos of Israel. The kibbutznikim were the elite, working the land. Sabbath, portrayed in this painting in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art by Yohanan Simon (1905-1976), was the only day off, a time when parents could see and play with their children, who lived in children’s homes. Simon’s figures are monumental, with little facial detail, befitting a collective philosophy that downplays individuality. Simon, who later left the kibbutz, was roundly criticized for showing workers relaxing instead of working in the fields. (Yohanan Simon, Sabbath on the Kibbutz, 1947, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Municipality of Tel Aviv Award 1947; image copyright Tel Aviv Museum of Art)
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