Neoclassical Hanukkah Lamp (Hanukiah)

This finely wrought Hanukkah lamp was produced by a master silversmith for a patriotic Jewish consumer.

Franz Kaltenmacher

This elegant Hanukkah menorah was produced in Brno, Moravia (today the Czech Republic) by master silversmith Franz Kaltenmacher. Kaltenmacher was among a handful of Austro-Hungarian silversmiths who worked almost exclusively for Jewish patrons, providing ritual silver pieces for the synagogue and home. Kaltenmacher's career illustrates the common phenomenon of Jews commissioning silver objects from Christian workshops throughout Europe as a result of Jewish exclusion from craft guilds.

The lamp’s backplate is decorated with the imperial crown of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This proud display of loyalty to the ruling House of Hapsburg was a sign of increasing Jewish integration into mainstream society during the post-Enlightenment period. The lamp is further embellished in the then-popular Neoclassical style with urns, scrolling vegetation, and figures clad in Roman scale armor. Neoclassicism was an influential movement in 17th- and 18th-century decorative arts, inspired by major archaeological discoveries such as the excavation of Pompeii and Herculaneum, ancient Roman cities buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

Name: Neoclassical Hanukkah Lamp (Hanukiah)
Artist: Franz Kaltenmacher
Origin: Moravia, 1807
Medium: Silver
Dimensions: 9 7/16 x 10 1/4 in.
Credit: Gift of Georgette Grosz Spertus from the Maurice Spertus Collection
Catalog Number: 68.1.42
Asher LibraryLuminous Art: Hanukkah Menorahs of the Jewish Museum.

Susan Braunstein (New York: Jewish Museum, 2004)

Asher LibraryThe Chanukkah Festival and the Calendar of Ancient Israel

Julian Morgenstern (Offprint from Hebrew Union College Annual, v. 21, 1948)

Asher LibraryA Collectors’ Guide to Judaica

Jay Weinstein (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1975)