Ashkelon – a collaborative project of two artists working individually and together, based on Classical antiquities found in Ashkelon, Israel. A portion of this project was exhibited at the Cambridge Museum of Classical Archaeology in 2019.



Facade of Roman Marble Sarcophagus (2nd or 3rd Century CE) Ashkelon (photo: Chaim Bezalel)


Captured Soldier, acrylics on canvas, 8 x 10 in. by Bezalel-Levy (2014)

War Horse, acrylics on canvas, 8 x 10 in. by Bezalel-Levy (2014)

The Abduction of Persephone, acrylics on canvas, 8 x 10 in. by Bezalel-Levy (2014)

Lion Goring a Bull, acrylics on canvas, 8 x 10 in. by Bezalel-Levy (2014)

Dying Soldier, acrylics on canvas, 8 x 10 in. by Bezalel-Levy (2014)

Nike Effaced, acrylics on canvas, 20 x 16 in. by Bezalel-Levy (2014)

Faces of Mortals and Immortals, wood fired porcelain, Chaim Bezalel (2014)


Forward March, ceramics, 9 x 9 x 11 in., Chaim Bezalel (2015)

Facial Urn, pit fired ceramics, 9 x 9 x 13 in., Chaim Bezalel (2015)

Armless Atlas, acrylics on canvas, 10 x 7 in. by Bezalel-Levy

It's Turtles All the Way Down, ceramics, 17 x 8 x 8 in. by Chaim Bezalel


Perhaps this project began in the winter of 1990 when we moved to Ashkelon. Our 4th floor apartment looked toward the Mediterranean and we could see the remains of the Crusader walls atop the nearby hills. Ashkelon is one of the oldest cities in the world. It has been conquered, reconquered, or occupied by the Canaanites, the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Muslims, the Crusaders, the Mamaluks, the Ottomans, and the Jews. Our move coincided with the Gulf War, when Chaim, age 40, was drafted into the Israeli reserves and went into basic training. The scud missiles fired from Iraq were intended to rein terror upon Israel's civilian population. When the sirens blared, we put on gas masks and entered into sealed rooms. So foxhole religion became a civilian phenomenon. Iraq was indeed Babylon and we all anticipated the judgment. Chaim was completed his basic training the day the war ended, coincidentally on Purim, a Jewish holiday which commemorates the saving of the Jews in ancient Persia from an intended destruction.


On the Walls of Ashkelon, Purim, mixed media, 40 x 28 in., Bezalel-Levy (1991)

Ruins of Ashkelon, mixed media, 37 x 30 in., Bezalel-Levy (1991)

Lion Urn, ceramic, 13 x 8 x 8 in., Yonnah Ben Levy (2008)





Lion Plaque, wood fired porcelain, 14 x 10 in., Chaim Bezalel (2014)







Lion Bowl, ceramic, 6 x 6 in. Chaim Bezalel (2019)


A philistine, in everyday parlance, is someone who is hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts, or who has no understanding of them. Ashkelon was one of the five major Philistine cities 3000 years ago. Much has been discovered about the Philistines in recent years. The Leon Levy Expedition, partly sponsored by Harvard University's Semitic Museumn, conducted large-scale excavations on the tell of ancient Ashkelon from 1985 to 2016. It is now generally accepted that the Philistines (the word simply means “invader” in Hebrew) came from the region of the Aegean Sea and had a fairly advance culture. In fact, the Bible states in I Samuel that all Israel went down to the Philistines, each to sharpen his plowshare, his mattock, his axe, and his hoe. In other words, the Philistines had entered the Iron Age while the Israelites were still in the late Bronze Age. While walking on the beach in the winter of 2015, a stranger who had been walking alongside of us, dug a remnant of a cup out of the bank and handed it to me. Research showed it to be a 3000 year old bi-chrome (two color) Philistine cup. It was so delicate that I could not fit my finger in the handle. Yonnah was inspired to design a series of cups and vessels with Greek and Philistine motifs.




Owl Motif Cups with Philistine remnant

Owl Motif Cup, saggar fired ceramics, Yonnah Ben Levy (2015)

Chevron Motif Cups, high fired ceramics, Yonnah Ben Levy (2016)

Backward Looking Bird Cups (Philistine motif commissioned by the Museum of Philistine Culture, Ashdod, Israel)




Corinthian Capital Motifs

In Ancient Greek architecture acanthus ornament appears extensively in the capitals of the Corinthian order. To the Greeks and Romans it symbolized enduring life.


Capital I, mixed media with acrylics on handmade paper, 16 x 20 in. by Bezalel-Levy (2016)

Acanthus I, mixed media with acrylics on handmade paper, 16 x 20 in. by Bezalel-Levy (2016)

Acanthus II, mixed media with acrylics on handmade paper, 16 x 20 in. by Bezalel-Levy (2016)

Unfinished Capital, oil pastels on handmade paper, 20 x 28 in. by Chaim Bezalel (2016)

Capital II, mixed media with acrylics on handmade paper, 17 x 22 ½ in. by Bezalel-Levy (2016)

Cornice, mixed media with acrylics on handmade paper, 17 x 22 ½ in. by Bezalel-Levy (2016)



Corinthian Design Elements, woodfired porcelain, Chaim Bezalel (2014)





Pit Fired Vessel with Corinthian Element, Chaim Bezalel

Pit Fired Vessel with Corinthian Element, Chaim Bezalel




Corinthiabn Bowl, high fired ceramic, 20 x 18 x 10 in., Chaim Bezalel (2016)




Exterior Wall Treatment, ceramic, 30 ft. wide. CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE


Lily Motif, acrylics on canvas, 20 x 16 in.. by Bezalel-Levy


Interior Wall Treatment, acrylics on canvas by Bezalel-Levy, ceramic tiles by Chaim Bezalel

Corinthian Elements, terracotta, Chaim Bezalel (2017)

Icarus, Ceramic, stone, steel, Chaim Bezalel (2018)


War Horse, archival pigment print with charcoal, 16 x 20 in., Chaim Bezalel (2016)

War Horse, ceramic, Chaim Bezalel (2016)

White Horse, ceramic, 20 x 20 x 9 in., Yonnah Ben Levy (2013)



Sarcophagus, mixed media with oil pastels, 28 x 40 in. by Bezalel-Levy (1992)

Marble Pedestal

Lovers, oil pastels on handmade paper, 16 x 20 in., Chaim Bezalel (2016)

Ancient Pottery Shard I, oil pastels on handmade paper, 21 x 28 in., Chaim Bezalel (2017)

Ancient Pottery Shard II, oil pastels on handmade paper, 21 x 31 in., Chaim Bezalel (2017)

Fallen Gods and Titans, mixed-media with oil pastels and charcoal on handmade paper, 19 ½ x 25 ½ in., Chaim

Hermes, mixed-media with charcoal and chalk on handmade paper, 17 x 22 ½ in., Chaim Bezalel

Ode to a Grecian Urn, mixed media on handmade paper, 22 x 32 in., Chaim

Siren, mixed media with nail polish on handmade paper, 22 x 32, Chaim

Nike (Winged Victory), mixed-media with gouache on handmade paper, 22 ½ x 17 ½ in., Chaim


Eros (Cupid), gouache on handmade paper, 34 x 20 in., Chaim Bezalel

Six Faces from a Roman Sarcophagus, oil on canvas, 21 x 29 in.

Flame Tree Bllossoms with Ionic Capital and Vessel, acrylics on canvas, 20 x 28 in.

Roman Pedestal in the Form of an Ancient Temple” gouache on canvas, 20 x 16 in.

Female Figure from a Roman Sarcophagus” mixed media with gouache and pastels on canvas, 19 x 15 in.

Pluto” (from a Roman Sarcophagus), oil pastels on canvas, 20 x 16 in.

Greek Siren Pitcher. Oil on paper on board, 36 x 24 in.

Siren Bowl by Chaim



Face from a Roman Sarcophagus, 38 x 29 in.




Armless Atlass, pastels on handmade paper, 26 x 21 in.

Bird in the Ruins, mixed media on handmade paper









Neptune, soapstone, 10 x 6 x 6 in., Chaim

Corinthian Capital,, mixed media on handmade paper, 30 x 24 in.




Potsherds


Exhibit Video for Cambridge Museum of Classical Archaeology

Music Video of original song, “Ashkelon”