AMISHAI-MAISELS, ZIVA (1939– ), art scholar. Amishai-Maisels was born Maxine Maisels in Brooklyn, N.Y., the daughter of Moses Ḥayyim (Misha) *Maisels (M.H. Amishai). Her family moved to Israel in 1959, and in the 1963 academic year, she began teaching at the Hebrew University's Department of Art History. She is known for her work on religious, historical, and personal symbolism in modern art, including problems of identity and depictions of the other. She concentrated especially on Modern Jewish Art and the work of Chagall, Steinhardt, Lipchitz, and Bezem. Among her most important contributions to the field is her work on the influence of the Holocaust on modern art among both Jews and Christians. She divided their reactions between depictions of the Holocaust's events and the way they have been symbolized in traditional and personal terms, explaining how the resulting images have become archetypes for representations of catastrophe. For this work, she received the Israel Prize in art history in 2004. She wrote many articles, and the books she published include Chagall at the Knesset (1973); Jakob Steinhardt: Etchings and Lithographs (1981); Gauguin's Religious Themes (1985); Naftali Bezem (1986); Depiction and Interpretation: The Influence of the Holocaust on the Visual Arts (1993); Jewish Art (with Gabrielle Sed-Rajna et al., 1995, 1997).
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.