Established in 1906 by artist Boris Schatz, with the support of the founder of Modern Zionism, Theodor Herzl, Bezalel is Israel’s leading academy of art and design, and one of the most prestigious in the world.
Bezalel takes enormous pride in its many generations of graduates – artists, designers and architects at the cutting edge of their fields in Israel and all over the globe. Bezalel is first and foremost a large array of talented and inspired artists. The Academy’s unique strength lies in its ability to respond swiftly to cultural changes, as demonstrated by the numerous artistic breakthroughs for which it has been responsible.
Bezalel has built an international network of art and design excellence. Its alumni exhibit their work in the world’s leading venues, and Bezalel is a focus and a destination for students and the creative community from across the globe.
The Academy has a broad and multifaceted scope of professional and artistic activities involving pioneering, state-of-the-art design methods as well as ancient techniques. The academy offers workshops unparalleled anywhere else in Israel in a variety of fields that have seen many changes in the past decades: industrial design, architecture, animation & video art, visual communications, fine art, photography, fashion & jewelry, history & theory, and ceramics & glass.
Both the faculty and the student body are driven by a passion to create and by their meticulous attention to quality and excellence. These two cornerstones, plus the Academy’s commitment to fostering creativity and opportunity amongst all communities in Israel, have positioned Bezalel at the center of Israel’s creative and artistic scene, making it instrumental in shaping and enriching the country’s cultural identity.
Today, the academy is located on Mount Scopus and has over 1,500 students today. The name, Bezalel Academy of Arts, was named after Bezalel – a biblical figure who was appointed by Moses to oversee the design and constructions of the Tabernacle (Exodus 35:30).
The institute produced decorative art objects in a wide range: silver, leather, wood, brass and fabric. While the artists and designers were European-trained, the craftsmen were often members of the Yemenite community, which has a long tradition of craftmanship in precious metals.
Silver and goldsmithing had been traditional Jewish occupations in Yemen. Yemenite immigrants with their colorful traditional costumes were also frequent subjects of Bezalel school artists.