Forefathers: Contemporary Biblical Works

The Patriarchs & The Matriarchs series and the related works

Forefathers, with its core The Patriarchs & The Matriarchs series is a special project of Michael Rogatchi on contemporary Biblical art. The series is more rare as it is executed in figurative art genre. Michael started it in mid-1990s with a striking portrait of Moses, and soon was working on his initial Ushpitsimseries which included seven portraits of all four Patriarchs and some other important personages from the Torah ( the Old Testament) narrative till mid 2000s, with an exception of the artist’s portrait of Josephwhich has been done in 2010.  As the series gained high critical acclaim and wide international public success and interest, the curator of the project prof. Julia Weiner( London) and other top art experts proposed to Michael to work also on the Matriarchs after the Patriarchs were created so successfully. After a thorough preparations, the work on The Matriarchstook intensive two years of 2009 -2010. Some other works on the theme of the artistic interpretation of the Torah that has been created by the artist from mid 1990s through 2017, has been organic addition to the project.  According to the prof. Weiner’s research, Michael’s Forefather series is ‘unique in the history of art’, as ‘no one from many artists who painted some of the Patriarch and some of the Matriarchs and some of the Biblical  scenes,  has never do it as a wholesome series with all the personages present’ ( prof. Julia Weiner).

The important series are accompanied by the artist’s own comments to each work which has become the outcome of Michael’s personal Biblical studies in which he is immersed deeply. Perhaps, due to that special knowledge, Michael was able and willing to create an extra-ordinary portrait of King David in the way which before him did not exist in art, King David as a suffering personality. Michael’s reading and aesthetics of Akedah is also the one of the very rare ones, if not unique in its own way, among the imaginary of the famous episode of the binding of Isaac. The work picturing Moses’ aspirations on behalf of his entire nation, Moses Hour I ( 2017) which is created with Inna Rogatchi, belong to the private collection of the Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and his wife Lady Elaine. 

Forefathers has been very successfully exhibited widely internationally, with exhibition in Jerusalem being prolonged for an extra month due to the public demand. The works of the series were published internationally, in many outlets and as independent art publications. 

It is featured also in the video-presentation – please see Video Presentations page on this site. 

Forefathers is the subject of the forthcoming special art documentary, on the Michael Rogatchi’s modern-time artistic interpretation of the Torah ( Old Testament).

The artist’s new works on the theme has been added to the collection.

Akeidah ( The Binding of Isaac). Abraham and Isaac. Oil on canvas. 84 x 78 cm. 2001.
Jacob. Oil on canvas. 82 x 89 cm. 2004.
Moses. Oil on canvas. 64 x 60 cm. 1999.
Aaron. Oil on canvas. 76 x 74 cm. 2009.
Joseph. Oil on canvas. 100 x 80 cm. 2009.

King David’s Shofar. Oil on canvas. 60 x 80 cm. 2022.

King David. ‘Absalom, My Son!..” Oil on canvas. 120 x  100 cm. 2003.
Moses Hour. Indian Ink drawing on the Inna Rogatchi;’s    original archival print on cotton paper. 30 x 20 cm. 2017. Private collection, London, UK.
Samson. The Last Smile. Oil on canvas. 95 x 82 cm. 1999. 
King David’s Shofar. Watercolour, Indian Ink, oil pastel on pale yellow Italian hand-made cotton paper. 40 x 60 cm. 2020.
Heeding the Book. Oil on canvas. 52 x 82 cm. 1995. A museum replica of the work made in one copy ( exhibition copy) belongs to the Library of the Helsinki Jewish community, Finland. Donated by the artist in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Library in 2022.
Sarah. Oil on canvas. 69 x 60 cm. 2009.
Rebecca. Oil on canvas. 120 x 80 cm. 2009.
Leah. Oil on canvas. 86 x 78 cm. 2009.
Rachel. Oil on canvas. 86 x 78 cm. 2009.
Abraham and Sarah. Oil on canvas. 67 x 64 cm. 1999. 
Esther. Oil on canvas. 120 x 80 cm. 2009. 
Miriam. Oil on canvas. 120 x 80 cm. 2009. 
“Schema, Yisrael!..” Oil on canvas. 80 x 70 cm. 2003.
Memories of Safed. Oil on canvas. 60 x 56 cm. 2000. 
Deborah. Oil on canvas. 90 x 120 cm. 2010.