Modern and Contemporary Art

Sheep of the Negev

Sheep of the Negev
  • Itzhak Danziger (1916-1977)
  • Sheep of the Negev
  • 1951–64
  • Bronze, 2 units
  • 109.2x195.9x82cm
  • Acquisition, 1993

Itzhak Danziger conceived of the artist as a facilitator in the fragile encounter between man and place, and developed an aesthetics that extended beyond existing conventions of visual art. He found new contexts for his work in interdisciplinary domains of knowledge that combined ecology, geography, anthropology and archeology. Danziger's sense of affinity with the landscape was combined with his love of biblical stories, in which the climate, landscape and local way of life serve as a stage for richly meaningful human dramas. His contact with the land and his involvement with the ancient tradition rooted in it led him to create a long series of works that culminated with Nimrod (1939).

 As part of this preoccupation with nature and place, Danziger created numerous sculptures and drawings of animals. Sheep appear in his art more frequently than any other animal typical of the region. The sheep, with their peg-like legs, blend into the landscape as the domesticated animals of desert nomads, and refer to the tents that serve as their homes. Sheep of the Negev is on the border between "a sculpture that is an object" and "a sculpture that is an environmental work." Its point of departure was the reconnaissance missions in the Negev desert that Danziger participated in while serving in the Palmach, which predated the foundation of the Israeli army. His sheep blend in perfectly with the components of the landscape – the slope of the dry ravine and the tent; in this manner, they represent the boundary and point of intersection between nature and local culture. 

There are two units measuring 109.2x195.9x82 and 83x212.2x80.8 cm. 


Prof. Mordechai Omer



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