Obj. ID: 2235
Jewish Architecture Leipziger Temple in Piatra Neamţ – Prayer hall
To the main object: Leipziger Temple in Piatra Neamţ, Romania
The prayer hall is bordered on three sides by the balconies of the women's section, which are supported by square, carved wooden columns. The central part of the prayer hall is covered by a tetrahedral domed vault. The vault, walls, and women's section are all adorned with murals, and each set of murals (vault, walls, women's section) follows an independent iconographical program. The eastern wall of the prayer hall is decorated according to a special design and includes the niche for the Torah ark.
The decoration on the ceiling vault of the synagogue represents a multi-level composition. The central area is decorated with a large eagle against the background of a sky containing golden stars. The eagle has black breasts and enormous white wings. It clutches a red military standard bearing an inscription. This central composition (eagle and sky) is bordered by a multi-tiered frame composed of geometric designs, floral decorations, and a row of red curtains. The center of each side of the frame contains one of the four animals of Pirkei Avot 5:20 (tiger, eagle, deer, and lion).
The eastern wall of the prayer hall presents a complicated architectural decoration. A wall painting depicts tall columns supporting elaborate neo-Gothic pendentives. The Torah ark is situated in the center of the eastern wall and represents a high, three-tiered construction against the backdrop of a luxurious red curtain. The Torah ark is fashioned in the shape of a portal. It is carved, painted, and gilded, with decorations depicting lions, birds, trumpeting gryphons, the stone Tablets of the Law, and hands portraying the high priestly blessing. The upper tier of the Torah ark contains two oval paintings of Egyptian pyramids and ruins. Above the Torah ark stands a large gilded double-headed eagle with a single crown placed on its heads.
The walls around the perimeter of the prayer hall contain paintings depicting holy places and other scenes in the Land of Israel. The artist added painted frames, cords, and nails to create the illusion of hanging paintings rather than murals. Part of these compositions were repainted during restoration undertaken in the 1970s.
The same type of "framing" was used for fourteen oval landscape scenes painted on the walls of the women's section. All of these landscapes were executed in a popular folk style. They include depictions of: rural scenes with houses, trees, ponds, lakes, paths, and castles; animals including deer, swans, oxen, and even elephants; and different times of day (including sunrise and sunset) and of year (seasons). These compositions were repainted during restoration undertaken in the 1970s.
The original paintings were accomplished in the 1920s. The icononography of the murals and a stylistic analysis of them suggests that the artist was most likely Mendel Grinberg (Grünberg).
For the Torah ark decorations see:
For the ceiling vault decorations see:
For the perimeter wall decorations see:
For the landscapes in the women's section see:
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