Home Page The Establishment of the Museum Austen St. Barbe Harrison Eric Gill David Ohannessian

Eric Gill, 1882-1940

Eric Gill at work on one of the bas-reliefs, May 1934. "I wear Arab dress now - the head thing (caphia) is splendid for the sun - keeps it off your neck. "From a letter by Gill to his wife, May 7, 1934.

The Museum's bas reliefs were carved by Eric Gill. Gill was born in England in 1882. In his youth he attended a school of art and technology, and later entered an apprenticeship in an architect's office. In the evenings he took lessons in stonemasonry and calligraphy. He earned his living mainly as a lettercutter and stonemason, but also illustrated manuscripts.

The ten bas-reliefs Gill carved in the courtyard of the Museum in 1934 depict the major cultures that left their imprint on this region. The relief above the Museum's main entrance represents this land as the meeting place of Asia and Africa. Gill also sculpted the fountain in the Central Court and cut the English, Arabic, and Hebrew letters of the inscriptions throughout the building. In his design of the Hebrew letters, he based himself on ancient Hebrew inscriptions.

Gill's sculptural style is direct but at the same time highly symbolic, evoking medieval sculpture. His simple, sensual figures with their elongated proportions seem to have been inspired by the stone itself. He did not draw preliminary sketches, but rather went directly to work on the stone.

Gill was a deeply religious man. He believed that "all the best art is religious," and indeed, everything he produced was intended to please God.

Eric Gill, Self-Portrait, 1927

Bas Reliefs by Eric Gill

Greek culture, April-May 1934

Roman culture, April-May 1934

Byzantine culture, May 1934

Islamic culture, May 1934

Crusader culture, May 1934

Canaanite culture, April 1934

Egyptian culture, April 1934

Phoenician culture, April-May 1934

Mesopotamian culture, April-May 1934

Israelite culture, April-May 1934
Gargoyle fountain in Central Court, Summer 1934

Relief above the main entrance, depicting the meeting of Asia and Africa, with the palm tree symbolizing the land of Israel, July-August, 1934
למאגר התערוכות , מוזיאון ישראל | מוזיאון ישראל, ירושלים | כל הזכויות שמורות © מוזיאון ישראל, ירושלים 1995-
To The Israel Museum Exhibition Online | The Israel Museum, Jerusalem | Copyright © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem 1995-