LET THEM EAT… CHOCOLATE? THE GENTRY?
Bastille Day is coming up, so let’s go French…and eat some chocolate!
This French trade card (ca. 1905) was part of an advertising series for the company Chocolat-Poulain. If advertising’s goals include making a sale and making the customer feel comfortable with the product, this chocolate company is evoking the theme of marriage to do so: “Israelite Marriage,” to be specific. Below a claim and command of “Unrivaled quality” and “Taste and Compare!” a veiled bride sipping from a cup is flanked by her sharply dressed groom and tallit-draped rabbi. The back of the card includes a brief description of the Israelites without a nation and the custom of breaking the cup after both bride and groom have sipped from it.
Perhaps the themes of marriage and Israel imply the sacredness of chocolate. But when Bastille Day comes around, we know what everyone is really thinking about…just don’t guillotine the chocolate!!
Advertising card for Chocolat Poulain, ca. 1905, paper, printed and embossed, Collection of the Yeshiva University Museum. 2008.120
UNSUNG HERO OF THE REVOLUTION - HAPPY JULY 4th!
As the joyous holiday approaches along with fireworks, barbecues, thoughts of liberty, George Washington, and tons of red, white and blue, we look back to 1776. This 20th century work of medallic art by Paul Vincze, however, features an unsung, Jewish hero of the American War for Independence: Haym Salomon.
The front and back of the medal do not convey any details that appear to be explicitly Jewish. In fact, the portrayal of Salomon on the medal is similar to that of any of our Founding Fathers. He is writing with a quill on a scroll by candlelight, symbols of the classic scene of the writing of the Declaration of Independence, and grasping a large rifle, a symbol of the war. Salomon’s involvement with the war, which was completely nonviolent yet essential, is represented here by his sedentary, large nature and positioning below fighters on horseback.
So perhaps this July 4th you’ll take a second to think of Salomon and how his “brilliant understanding of foreign currency” helped finance the Revolutionary War that allowed us to eat this delicious corn-on-the-cob, I mean celebrate the freedoms and founding of our country.
P. Vincze, Haym Salomon, 1973, Silver, Cast Medal, Collection of the Yeshiva University Museum. 2001.202