ASKNAZI, ISAAC LVOVICH (1856–1902), Russian painter. Born near Vitebsk (Belorussia) to a wealthy ḥasidic family, Asknazi attended the Academy of St. Petersburg where he formed a lifelong friendship with the sculptor Antokolski, whom he greatly admired. At the Academy he won a scholarship to study in Italy for four years. On his return from Italy he settled in St. Petersburg. Asknazi was a proud and observant Jew. As a student he was unique in being excused from attendance at the Academy on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays. He was reproached, however, by the Academy for his preoccupation with Jewish subjects, derived from the Bible, Jewish history, and the Jewish life of his day. A painstakingly academic artist, he made elaborate preparations for his compositions, including sculptures of the accessories. Some of his more important works are Abraham Driving out Hagar and Ishmael, Moses in the Wilderness, Kohelet, The Death of Judah Halevi, A Jewish Wedding, and Sabbath Eve. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Vyestnik Izyashchnykh Iskusstv (1886), 418–9; D. Maggid, in: Sefer ha-Shanah, 2 (1901), 56–72.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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