Ignŕc Josef Porges


Prague, b. 1812, d. 1890


"During the second decade of (Josef) Bergler's directorship (of the Academy of Fine Arts established in Prague in 1800) a generation studied at the academy whose work preempts Prague's romanticism by being a bizarre synthesis of the one-time classicism and historical romanticism.
Josef Fuhrich became representative of the trend ... and in 1829, Ignàc Josef Porges, who proceeded to become a specialist in the honest portrait ...
The Jewish students at the academy indulged in Jewish themes on a modest scale only ...
Ignàc Josef Porges provided the portrait of Rabbi Salomon Judah Rapoport in 1843 ....
Least romantic of all was Ignàc Josef Porges. His eagle eye approximated the lens of a camera, and in effect he did at times make his living at daguerreotyping and photography.
An ardent lover of truth, it was with great reluctance that he embellished his female models even a little.
(He liked to use colorful wraps - Indian scarves.) Portraits of young men were set in landscapes, painted skillful ; those of older men he preferred in the actual sanctum of their study, and there he was most at home.
Toman said of Porges that he selected "motley Jewish types clad in outlandish garments" and Jirik wrote of him, in 1930, that Porges demonstrated "an oriental penchant for colorful imagery".
Nothing of the sort approaches the truth. Porges is virtual fanatic of the sober, down-to-earth, microscopic realism, quite common in Prague in those times."

Source : The Jews in Czechoslovakia (1971), Vol II, (p.471-472) ; chapter : Jewish artists in the historic lands
(The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia / Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews, New York)

Ignác J. Porges : Vilém Karel Karpeles, 1836

Images of the Prague Ghetto
The exhibition Images of the Prague Ghetto has been on view at the City of Prague Museum since the middle of May (2006). Featuring 200 unique images from the 18th century through the 20th, this gives a vivid picture of the main monuments of Prague’s Jewish Town. The show comprises three main sections.
The first part contains portraits of rabbis and families in the ghetto The second focuses on the most important sites of the ghetto, particularly the Old-New Synagogue and the Old Jewish Cemetery.
Most of the depictions of the Jewish Town by Prague painters date from the period of its reconstruction (which also led to the founding of the Jewish Museum in Prague).
The need to represent a society undergoing a process of emancipation led to the creation of a complete portrait gallery of the spiritual representatives of the Prague Jewish community and of members of patrician and entrepreneurial families in the Jewish Town.
The best Prague portraitists, such as Antonín Bayer and Antonín Machek, were receiving commissions from clients in the ghetto by the beginning of the 19th century; the first Jewish graduates of the Prague Academy soon followed suit.
Ignác Josef Porges was one of the most acclaimed Jewish portraitists in 19th century Prague.
The Old-New Synagogue attracted the attention of artists at the beginning of the 19th century.
Their engravings from the 1830s were used as illustrations for the first guidebooks for Prague.
The most important work is a watercolour by Josef Mánes that depicts the Old-New Synagogue interior.
The Old Jewish Cemetery was also a popular subject for several generations of artists.
Exhibition catalogue It was first painted by Antonín Mánes, but the most important painters of the cemetery were Bedrich Havránek and Matyáš Wehli who depicted picturesque clusters of tombstones near Pinkas Synagogue with views of Prague Castle.
Cemetery views also became a popular motif for Art Nouveau graphic artists.
The decision to reconstruct the Jewish Town and the start of its demolition around 1896 produced a wave of broader interest in the Prague ghetto.
Artists sought to document the form of the ghetto’s vanishing streets and corners.
Among the most important ghetto painters from this period was Václav Jansa; others included Ludek Marold, Václav Hradecký, Jindrich Jakesch and Josef Douba.
Antonín Slaví?ek painted his most famous views of the Jewish and Old Towns at the turn of century.
Traditional motifs of the Prague ghetto were also depicted in many replicas by the naive painter Adolf Kohn in the 1920s and 30s.
Due to the numerous works by several generations of Prague painters and graphic artists, the demolished Jewish Town is now, paradoxically, among the best documented historic parts of Prague.
This exhibition is co-held by the Prague 1 Borough.

Source : Jewish Museum Prague 2006

Painting by Ignác Porges

Portrait of Chief Rabbi of Prague
Solomon Judah Löb Rapoport

born Lemberg June 4,1790 died Prague October 16,1867
Prague, 1841
Portrait of Rabbi Samuel Landau

Lithograph on paper, 538 x 436 mm, signed and dated lower left in the lithographic stone: Ign. Porges / 1841
Provenance: acquired by the Central Jewish Museum in 1942-1944; incorporated into the museum’s collections by Dr. Josef Polák; selected from the Treuhandstelle warehouse where the item was sent after being seized from the property of Alžb?ta Hájková from Prague (b. 23 May 1879. Hájková was deported from Prague to Terezín on Transport AAn on 6 July 1942, from where on 14 July 1942 she was sent on Transport AAx to Maly Trostinec, where all trace of her was lost)

The third day of Sukkot on the 17th of Tishri in the Hebrew calendar (which this year falls on 29 September in the Gregorian calendar) marks the 140th anniversary of the death of the prominent scholar and rabbi Solomon Judah Löb Rapoport. Also known by the acronym “Shir”, his career is closely linked to the Prague Jewish community. Rapoport was born in 1790 in the Galician town of Lvov (then Lemberg, part of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy). Despite receiving a traditional Orthodox education, he soon moved towards the Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah) and became a devoted promoter of the Science of Judaism (Wissenschaft des Judentums). Based on a critical study of the Tanakh, Talmud and rabbinic literature, he put together an encyclopaedic dictionary of Judaism entitled Erekh Millin (published by M. I. Landau, Prague, 1852, Vol I.). In 1840 he accepted the position of Chief Jurist of the Prague Jewish community, where he remained until his death in 1867. He is buried in the Jewish cemetery in Fibichova Street in the Žižkov district of Prague.
The collections of the Jewish Museum in Prague contain several portraits of Rapoport. The most famous of these is probably a painting by the Prague portraitist Antonín Machek (JMP 12.574) and a related lithograph by Machek’s colleague František Šír (JMP 60.723). In Ignác Porges’s lithograph, Rapoport is depicted as an enlightened scholar interpreting a passage from the Book of Job (VIII, 8-10): “For inquire of the former generation, and apply thyself to that which their fathers have searched out. For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow. Shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their heart?.”


Solomon Judah Löb Rapoport (June 1, 1790 in Lemberg, Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, Austria – October 16, 1867 in Prague) , was a Galician rabbi and Jewish scholar.

After various experiences in business, Rapoport became successively rabbi of Tarnopol (1837) and of Prague (1840). He was one of the founders of the new "Wissenschaft des Judentums" movement. His chief work was the first part of an (unfinished) encyclopaedia (Ereklz Millin, 1852). Equally notable were his biographies of Saadia Gaon, Nathan (author of the Arukh), Hai Gaon, Eleazar Kalir and others.

Thrown upon his own resources about 1817, Rapoport became cashier of the meat-tax farmers. He had already given evidence of marked critical ability, though his writings previously published were of a light character—poems and translations. His critical talent, however, soon revealed itself. In 1824 he wrote an article for Bikkure ha-'Ittim on the independent Jewish tribes of Arabia and Abyssinia. Though this article gained him some recognition, a more permanent impression was made by his work on Saadia Gaon and his times (published in the same journal in 1829), the first of a series of biographical works on the medieval Jewish sages. Because of this work he received recognition in the scholarly world and gained many enthusiastic friends, especially S. D. Luzzatto (Bernfeld, Toledot Shir, p. 33).

After the fashion in rabbinic circles, Rapoport was known by an acronym "Shir", formed by the initial letters of his Hebrew name Shelomo Yehuda Rapoport.

Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Judah_L%C3%B6b_Rapoport (2008)