Hart, Solomon Alexander

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HART, SOLOMON ALEXANDER (1806–1881), English painter. Hart was the son of a Plymouth engraver and Hebrew teacher and moved with his family to London in 1820. First apprenticed to an engraver, Hart entered the Royal Academy as a student in 1823; three years later he exhibited a miniature portrait of his father. He continued for a time to paint miniatures for a livelihood. In 1828 he showed his first oil at the British Institute, and, two years later, Elevation of the Law (now in the Tate Gallery, London), also called Interior of a Jewish Synagogue at the Time of the Reading of the Law (depicting the interior of the former Polish synagogue in London). An associate of the Royal Academy in 1835 and a full member five years later, he was professor of painting at the Royal Academy from 1854 to 1863. In his last eighteen years he served there as librarian. Hart's crowded canvases usually illustrate famous episodes of English history, and are done in the formal, dignified academic style that matured in the Regency period. Paintings on Jewish themes are also frequent. His Rejoicing of the Law in the Ancient Synagogue at Leghorn represents the procession of the Scrolls on Simḥat Torah. His painting Manasseh ben Israel was destroyed in the London Blitz during World War ii. His Reminiscences of Solomon Alexander Hart, R.A., edited by Alexander Brodie, was published in 1882.

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