Hanukkah Lamp with Palazzo Vecchio
Italy, 17th century
Cast Brass, 28.8X17.4 cm
Hanukkah lamp in the figure Palazzo and Cue
Italy, 17th century
Cast brass, 28.8x17.4 cm
What a 17th century menorah from Italy has to do with the Ministry of Education in Jerusalem? This Hanukkah lamp is made of cast brass and in a similar manner to other lamps of its Era. The back of this Menorah is designed as the facade of an Italian Palazzo with a tower in the middle. This design is reminiscing of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence - the city's town hall. Both have a tall tower and shooting slits. Four holes in the back panel tells as that there used to be two side panels as well. The Palazzo Vecchio is a very impressive building but it is not very unusual. Sienna and Ferrara also have similar buildings from around the same time.
The 19th century experienced a revival of the late Gothic - Early Renaissance style and buildings copping this style were built everywhere and in Israel as well. One of these building is the former Italian Hospital that today serves the Ministry of Education. Like in the Palazzo Vecchio and our menorah, it too has a tall tower and decorations similar in style.
What is the connection between 17th century Italian Hanukkah lamps and the Ministry of Education in Jerusalem? This Hanukkah lamp is made of brass and like many other menorahs consists of a row of baskets and a cast back. The back of the menorah is shaped like the façade of an Italian palace, with a tall tower in the center adorned with bricks and firing slits. This design is very reminiscent of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence (the city hall), with an example of brick-engraved bricks and slits from above. Four rectangular holes that appear on either side of the back wall indicate that in the past the menorah, apparently also had side panels.
The Palazzo Vecchio in Florence is a particularly impressive structure but is not the only one of its kind. Similar style buildings can also be found in Siena and Ferrara. At the end of the 19th century, the late Gothic style was revived and a number of buildings were built here in the Land of Israel. In this style. One of them was the Italian Hospital in Jerusalem, Which is currently used by the Ministry of Education. In the center of the hospital is a tall tower that is very reminiscent of both the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence and the menorah in front of you.