Auction 93 Part 1 - Manuscripts, Prints and Engravings, Objects and Facsimiles, from the Gross Family Collection, and Private Collections

Large Poster – Hymn of Praise Dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte – Pisa, 1809

Opening: $1,500
Sold for: $2,750
Including buyer's premium

"Pe'er Nesher", large poster with a hymn of praise dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte by Rabbi Moise Sabbato Beer di Pesaro. Pisa (under French occupation): Societa Letteraria, 1809. Hebrew, Italian and some Latin.
Large, impressive poster, exalting the greatness of Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of the French. Printed in Northern Italy during the Napoleonic occupation of the region.
The Hebrew name of the Hymn, "Pe'er Nesher", appears on the upper part of the poster, flanked on both sides by wings of a vulture, referring to the coat of arms of the house of Bonaparte. The Hebrew letter 'Shin' is raised to resemble a large crown (the arrangement of the hymn's name and the wings surrounding it is reminiscent of the flag of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy).
The center of the poster features a long dedication and prayer for Emperor Napoleon, and his wife, Josephine (Hebrew). Followed by a typographically intricate hymn of praise dedicated to the emperor (in Hebrew an Italian), with textual references and interpretations, arranged around the hymn, to resemble a Gemara page. The last reference suggests that the hymn was composed in Venice.
Signed in print by Rabbi Moise Sabbato Beer di Pesaro – presumably Rabbi Moise Shabtai Beer, who served as Rabbi in Rome from 1825 onwards. Rabbi Beer conferred with Pope Leo XII (1760–1829), in an effort to alleviate the hardships suffered by the Jewish community of his city, and is considered to be the first Roman Jew to have been allowed a personal meeting with the supreme pontiff; passed away in Rome in 1835 (see: Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, P. 635).
Due to his pivotal role in the emancipation of European Jewry, numerous hymns of praise and admiration were dedicated to Napoleon by Jews. The Napoleonic Code introduced to countries occupied by the French bore the spirit of the French revolution, epitomized in the motto "liberty, equality, fraternity", which significantly improved the condition of various minorities, granting them significant civil rights, which had been withheld until that point. In general, Jews held a positive attitude towards Napoleon, with some even interpreting his arrival as a symbol of the initial stages of the Messianic redemption.


55.5X72 cm. Frame: 71.5X87.5 cm. Good condition. Minor folding marks and creases. Unexamined out of frame.


Exhibitions:
• Only on paper: Six Centuries of Judaica from the Gross Family Collection, CD, 2005.
• Italia ebraica: oltre duemila anni di incontro tra la cultura italiana e l'ebraismo / сura della mostra e del libro, Natalia Berger e Daniela Di Castro. Tel Aviv, 2008.
Provenance:
• Sotheby's – Judaica auction, Tel Aviv, 19th April, 1990, lot no. 85.
• The Gross Family Collection, Tel Aviv, 121.011.001.

Category
Italian and Greek Jewry – Manuscripts and Printed Items