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  (XI) Obj. ID: 22461 Painters’ (Malarske) Kloyz in Vilna (Vilnius),, Vilnius (Vilna, Wilno), 1862? 1930s (paintings). // Zinnmann (synagogue painter) edit  
Category: Jewish Architecture

2 Name/Title Painters’ (Malarske) Kloyz in Vilna (Vilnius) | Unknown
3a Object Synagogue
Wall painting (Decoration)
3b Object Detail
4a Artist/ Maker Zinnmann (synagogue painter) (Unknown)
5 Date 1862? 1930s (paintings)
6 Period Unknown
6a Period Detail
7 Origin Lithuania | Vilnius County | Vilnius (Vilna, Wilno)
| Shulhoyf
8 Community Ashkenazi
9 Collection Unknown |
9b Documentation/
Research project
Unknown |
10 Location Building does not exist
11 Site Unknown
12 School/Style Unknown|
13 Iconographical Subject Noah's Ark
Isaac, Sacrifice of
Lot, Destruction of Sodom
By the Rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, we wept ... We hanged our harps upon the willows ... (Ps. 137: 1-2) |
14 Category
17 Photographer Unknown
18 Photograph Date Before 1941
19 Negative/ Photo. No.
19 Remarks
20 Description

A painters’ guild existed in 1840 and its kloyz was mentioned in 1862. It was situated in the premises donated by Yosef Karpinsky (d. 1882?). In 1916 the congregation numbered only 38 persons and the board of the kloyz complained a year later: “the worshippers of the kloyz are not here, some left [for Russia] and some died.” In 1933 the number of worshippers reached 50. The kloyz had a wide window and a lantern; its interior, according to Yaffe, was decorated with “beautiful” oil paintings “of Biblical motifs” made by the Jewish painter Zinnmann.

There was a women’s section, and the kloyz possessed also a room near the prayer hall which was let to the board of the Great Synagogue in the 1910s. Chaim Grade described the kloyz in The Agunah: “The walls of the prayer hall were decorated with murals based on Torah scenes: Noah’s Ark floating on the water; Abraham binding Isaac, Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of salt."

Avrom Karpinovich described the depiction of the Western Wall near the Torah ark in his story “Di gzeyre” (The punishment).

By 1942 the kloyz was “seriously damaged.”

(From Vladimir Levin, “Synagogues, Batei Midrash and Kloyzn in Vilnius,” in Synagogues in Lithuania. A Catalogue, ed. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin et al., vol. 2 (Vilnius: Vilnius Academy of Arts Press, 2012), p.  302.)

(Photo: The Painters’ Kloyz on the right and the communal lavatories on the left. Photo, before 1941. After Ran, Jerusalem of Lithuania, vol. 1, p. 105)

An Yiddish poet Leyzer Volf described the kloyz in his poem "Vilner shulhoyf" (published in the newspaper Vilner tog in 1928 and republished in Zalmen Szyk, 1000 yor vilne, Wilno, 1939, p. 168; as well as in Leyzer Volf, Shvartse perl, 13-15; Leyzer Volf, Lirik un satire,10-13; Leyzer Volf, Lider, 133-136):

אויף דארע טרעפ איז די מאליארסקי קלויז,

דא דאוונען די מאליארעס יום-טוב בלויז:

דא זיינען אנגעמאלט אויף אלע ווענט

די בילדער: ווי דער בית-המקדש ברענט,

ווי משה האלט אין האנט א געלן שעפס,

ווי לוט מיט נחס טעכטער מאכן שנעפס,

און ווי ס'וועט באחרית הימים זיין:

דער מענשט וועט גיין פון באד אין וואלד אריין,

א לייב וועט פלעכטן צעפעלעך ביים בערגל-באק,

א האן וועט לייגן אייער זיבן שאק,

א ציג וועט נעמען אלע מאל פאר שווער און שוויגער

אן אסתר-תענית-וואלף מיט א יום-כפור-טיגער.

אזוי וועט זיין, הראיה, אז מיין באבען רופט מען שמאיע,

אזוי מוז זיין, - האט אנגעזאגט דער נביא ר' ישעיה.

Translation by Justin Cammy (2019):

Up narrow steps is the Maliarske prayer house

Where artists gather only on festivals,

Where every wall is covered

with painted motifs: the Temple aflame,

Moses holding a yellow lamb in his arms,

Lot in revelry with Noah’s daughters.

And this is how it will be at the end of days:

Man will go forth from the bathhouse to the forest,

A lion will braid the mane on its cheeks,

A hen will lay four-hundred-and-twenty eggs

A goat will take as in-laws

A Fast-of-Esther wolf and a Day of Atonement tiger

This is how it will be, a vision as sure as my grandmother’s name is Shmaya. 

This is how it must be, the omen of our prophet Reb Isaiah.

We are grateful to Prof. Justin Cammy, Smith College, for sharing with us his translation and bibliographical information.

According to the memoirs of Kalman Marmor, the Painters' Kloyz had several wall paintings in the late 1880s: "One painting, 'On the Rivers of Babylon' took the entire western wall. There were depicted different musical instruments, on which Levites used to play in the Temple." (Marmor, Kalman. Mayn lebens-geshikhte. Vol. 1. New York: Yidisher Kultur Farband, 1959, p. 203. We are grateful to Ekaterina Oleshkevich for this reference). 

More Details...
21 Ornamentation
22 Custom
23 Contents
24 Codicology
24a Scribes
24b Script
24c Number of Lines
24d Ruling
24e Pricking
24f Quires
24g Catchwords
24h Hebrew Numeration
24i Blank Leaves

25 Material/Technique
25a Material Structure
25b Material Decoration
25c Material Bonding
25d Material Inscription
25e Material Additions
25f Material Cloth
25g Material Lining
25h Tesserae Arrangement
25i Density
25j Colors

26 Measurements
26a Height
26b Length
26c Width
26d Depth
26e Circumference
26f Thickness
26g Diameter
26h Weight
26i Axis
26j Panel Measurements
27 Direction/Location
27a Façade (main)
27b Entrances
27c Location of Torah Ark
27d Location of Apse
27e Location of Niche
27f Location of Reader's Desk
27g Location of Platform
27h Temp: Architecture Axis
27i< Arrangement of Seats
27j Location of Women's Section
27k Direction Prayer
27l Direction Toward Jerusalem

28 Coin
28a Coin Series
28b Coin Ruler
28c Coin Year
28d Denomination

29 Signature
30 Colophon
31 Scribal Notes
32 Watermark
33 Hallmark
33a Group
33b Subgroup
33c Hallmark Identification
33d Hallmark Group Classification
33e Hallmark Reference
34 Trade Mark
35 Binding
36 Decoration Program
36 Summary and Remarks
38 Suggested Reconstruction
39 History/Provenance
40 Main Surveys & Excavations
41 Condition
42 Biography
43 Bibliography
Vladimir Levin, “Synagogues, Batei Midrash and Kloyzn in Vilnius,” in Synagogues in Lithuania. A Catalogue, ed. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin et al., vol. 2 (Vilnius: Vilnius Academy of Arts Press, 2012), p. 302.
43a Short Name
43b Full Name
43c Volume
43d Page

44 Type
45 Temp: Batch Number
46 Temp: Aleph Number
47 Temp: Sys. Number / Doc. Name
48 Temp: Addenda

Function: Name: Date:
49 Documenter 49a
50 Researcher Vladimir Levin 2016 50a
51 Architectural Drawings 51a
52 Computer Reconstruction 52a
53 Section Head 53a
54 Editor 54a
55 Donor 55a

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