Moshe Castel (1909-1991), born in Jerusalem, developed an unusual style and technique in his later years, using ground-up basalt in his works. This basalt relief in the reception hall of the President’s Residence often serves as a backdrop for important state ceremonies. Castel’s use of stylized figures is an ancient idiom that, in his words, “connects me with artistic elements from the ancient Near East, Sumer, Assyria and the Canaanites.” But there is also Jewish symbolism in the large stones reminiscent of the Western Wall, which was inaccessible when he created the piece, and in the figures representing each of the Twelve Tribes, united by the modern institution of Israel’s presidency. (Image by Mark Neyman, Israeli Government Press Office, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
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