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Italia, Shalom


ITALIA, SHALOM (c. 1619–c. 1655), engraver, etcher, and draftsman. Probably born in Mantua, Shalom Italia lived in Amsterdam from at least 1641, and was active there for eight and possibly 15 years. Of the ten signed works by him, only two are dated – 1642 and 1649; five other works are ascribed to him. In his early works he signed in Hebrew: "by Shalom Italia" (איטאליאה) but later in Latin: "Salom Italia sculpsit." Most of his copper engravings and etchings were done for scrolls (megillot) of Esther, but he also engraved portraits, book illustrations, and a *ketubbah. The decorations in his megillot are in the form of arcades framing the text, with Purim characters between the columns, and scenes from the megillah in cartouches at the bottom of the text columns. One of the first megillot, formerly in the Rothschild Collection in Frankfurt, was hand drawn, signed, and dated 1649. C. Roth has attributed another fine example, the etched Howitt Megillah of about 1647, to Shalom Italia (London Jewish Museum, 35). His best-known portrait, of Jacob Judah Leon *Templo, was not signed by him when it first appeared in 1641, but only in its later version, when it was attached in 1654 to his book on the cherubim. Another portrait, of *Manasseh Ben Israel, was signed and dated 1642.

Also attributed to him are the four crude illustrations to Manasseh Ben Israel's Piedra Gloriosa (1655). These unsigned engravings are based on works by *Rembrandt, and if they are by Shalom Italia then it must be assumed that he was still active in 1655. A single engraved ketubbah (Israel Museum) signed by him was used in Rotterdam in 1648, but was probably executed before 1641. In tracing the stylistic and technical development of Shalom Italia, M. Narkiss drew attention to the influence of the French artist Daniel Rabel (1578–1637) and the Dutch artist Hans Janssen (active in Amsterdam 1631–33).


A.D. de Vries, in: Oud Holland, 13 (1885), 156; J.S. da Silva Rosa, in: Maandblad voor de Geschiedenis der Joden in Nederland, 1 (1947/48), 214–22; S. Kirschstein, Juedische Graphiker aus der Zeit von 16251825 (1918), 9–14; E. Hintze, Katalog der… Ausstellung " Das Judentum in der Geschichte Schlesiens " (1929), no. 533; Christie, Manson, and Woods, The Collection of… Arthur Howitt Sale (1932), no. 213; A. Rubens, Anglo-Jewish Portraits (1935), no. 159; M. Narkiss, in: Tarbiz, 25 (1956), 441–51; 26 (1957), 87–101.

[Bezalel Narkiss]

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