Beautiful Ester

On the occasion of the Jewish holiday of Purim, the Foundation for the Jewish Museum of Rome and the Jewish Community of Rome in collaboration with the National Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah of Ferrara (MEIS), and in agreement with the Roman Centre for Jewish Studies (CeRSE) of the University of Rome Tor Vergata inaugurate the exhibition “Beautiful Ester. Masterpieces for a Queen”. Open to the public from March 20 to June 24, 2024, at the Jewish Museum in Rome. The exhibition is curated by Olga Melasecchi, Amedeo Spagnoletto, and Marina Caffiero.

The exhibition path, which includes about 40 works including miniature scrolls, paintings, drawings, manuscripts, ancient volumes and photographs, analyses the fascinating figure of Esther who, over the centuries, has been the protagonist of novels, Italian and American cinematographic films, theatrical, musical plays, and above all of pictorial works.
The exhibition offers a journey within the most beautiful and precious Meghillot Estèr (parchment rolls that tell the story of Purim), exhibited together for the first time with their wonderful miniatures. True masterpieces of Jewish art, some of which are read inside the Cinque Scoles of the ancient ghetto of Rome. Others were commissioned by private individuals, kept for years with families, and subsequently donated to the Jewish Museum in Rome. Important specimens borrowed from Italian collections. Such as the Meghillà Momigliano, coming from Casale Monferrato – Museum of Art and Ancient Jewish History and dated mid-seventeenth century. A unique specimen of miniature and coloured parchment.

Some famous works of Italian Renaissance and Baroque painting, made by artists of the calibre of Michelangelo Buonarroti and Jacopo del Sellaio, alternate on display. Valuable works of art depicting the events and characters of Esther’s history. A unique opportunity to understand how the biblical story was represented inside and outside the Jewish world, and how much and how iconographic models have spread, which eventually became canonical in the common imagination through cinematographic interpretations. A completely new vision that stars the figure of Esther, and all the characters in Purim’s story, analysing his interpretations in the Christian world and the connections and differences with the carnival.
An exhibition path that offers a real journey within the history of Purim putting at the centre the role of the woman, the theme of the reversal of fate and the physical and moral redemption of the Jewish people. All made possible through a careful selection of materials preserved at Casale Monferrato – Museum of Art and Ancient Jewish History, the Paolo Ravenna Archive, the Uffizi Gallery, the Buonarroti House, the National Library of Florence, the University Library of Genoa, the Padua Museum, the State Archive of Rome, the Historical Archive of the Jewish Community of Rome, the Art Gallery l’Occhio and the Jewish Museum of Rome.
The exhibition, accompanied by the catalogue published Silvana Editore reconstructs the historical, religious, artistic and social value not only of the figure of the heroine Ester but of the entire story of Purim whose events ideally represent the victory of good over evil conveyed by a female figure who has become an inspiration for the world of art.

Jewish Museum of Rome
From 20 March to 24 June 2024
Curated by Olga Melasecchi, Amedeo Spagnoletto, and Marina Caffiero.


20 Mar 2024 - 24 Jun 2024


Jewish Museum of Rome
Jewish Museum of Rome
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