Shoah Forensics III: Family Photograph Re-illumination

Shoah Forensics III: Family Photograph Re-illumination Type: Oil
Dimensions: Width/Height (in inches) 48/60
Year: 2014

Employing forensic art techniques based on information referring to Herman Moscovitc’s facial appearance recorded on his Mauthausen Haftling card (archived in Yad Vashem), along with speculating about familial facial resemblances, this oil painting artistically reconstructs and re-illuminates Herman’s faceless face from the defaced black and white photograph “Family Photograph: Serednovi 1940”, www.nahumhalevi.com. For the history of this photograph’s origin please refer to its description found on the website mentioned above.

This painting was done with significant collaborative input from Judy Horowitz, an internationally and nationally recognized portrait artist. The museum quality, Fine Art, oil painting of Judy Horowitz employs the classical techniques of under painting and glazing to achieve the luce di sotto (interior luminosity, light from within) attributed to the Flemish, Dutch and Italian Masters of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Golden Age of painting. Her work is represented in numerous private and public collections in the United States and abroad, including Israel, and is notable for its rich psychological insight and realistic attention to detail, attributes which are very evident in this painting.

Herman’s body and face are rendered intact and whole on the left. Leib Moskowitz is rendered on the right, and their mother Lea Moskowitz is rendered in the middle. On the bottom right of the painting are the Czech words “1940 z delani Serednovi” which is translated as ‘completed in Seredovi in 1940”. These fading words were written in ink by the Czech photographer in 1940, and are barely visible on the back of the photograph (not illustrated).

Ironically what inspired and enabled the reconstruction of Herman’s face were his physical facial characteristics mentioned and recorded on his Mauthausen Prisoner card. This card inspired two earlier attempts at his facial and physical reconstruction (Shoah Forensics I: Reconstruction ex-nihilo, and Shoah Forensics II: recreation ex-nihilo, www.nahumhalevi.com). It also inspired “Project Ezekiel” and the founding of the Shoah Forensics Art Institute (www.shoahforensicsartinstitute.com).