“SHE’S GONE AND THE HARP IS BROKEN”
A body in state. A harp ripped apart. A rose wilts on the floor and a shirtless guy contemplates it all.
These are part of the image created by the art nouveau illustrator Moses Ehpraim Lilien for the book Judah by Barren Börries Freiherr von Munchausen. Around 1900 Munchausen published a collection of poetry called Judah in which he covered topics such as ancient and contemporary Jewish practice and myth, Greek stories, and Germanic mythology. Lilian completed several images for this volume, which, itself, became the standard gift for Bar Mitzvahs and Jewish confirmations in turn-of-the-century Germany.
Lilian was and remains known his illustrations in the art nouveau style, particularly the images he created for early-Zionist projects. Munchausen was an intriguing character known in large part for his attempts to create a German military academy in the Prussian model in Nazi Germany.
“The Dirge” illustration by E. M. Lilien for Juda by Börries Albrecht Conon August Heinrich Freiherr von Münchhausen published in 1900