Town: Sventzion

Biography of Meir Matzkin (author uknown), translated in 1994.

Note: some of the sentences are run-on and contain ungrammatical changes in
tense. I have made no effort to correct this style. 

- Eldad Ganin
Meir Matzkin, a Jewish artist (this word has a magical sound to citizens
of his town of origin) brought to the western world the Jewish themes
that are expressed in the best artistic techniques and strong personal

A noticeable theme in our citizen Meir Matzkin was his "demonstration of
his Jewishness" and he didn't stop with simply drawing biblical or
Judaic figures, he sees himself obligated to show the viewer the
"Graphic Jew."

In his compositions on biblical themes, one of the figures that stands
out is his image of Moses in ecstasy in which he captured the pathos and
piety, the longing and the dream.

Matzkin knows how to express the hidden both in others and inside
himself, the public and private, the monumental and all the richness of

Meir Matzkin's pictures belong to those creations that compel all eyes
who encounter them, because of their high aesthetic value, their
humanity brings the onlooker closer to the art -- because great
spiritual truth is contained in them.

The spiritual background of Matzkin's creations is expressed in a
perspective, that I would call the spirit of Sventzion, the foundations
that the artist identified with, the emotional ideals that he combined
with ideas of the plastic arts accompanied by his own personal way, a
path of a great artist who glorifies the name of our town around the

The artist Meir Matzkin, from New York, was born in 1881 in Sventzion to
his parents Chaim and Paisa-Raiza.  When they saw Meirike's talents in
sketching and drawing (upon completing Cheder and public school) they
transferred him to nearby Vilna to study the profession of commercial
drawing and sign painting.  In the art of drawing he was primarily self

Even in his youth the completeness of his work stood out. He started with
sketches and drawings of nature and scenery to which he imparted a Romantic
style by the addition of mythological figures and with great skill drew
striking facial images.

In 1904 he immigrated to the United States with his family and settled
in Brooklyn.  His attachment to his people became apparent in his
compositions on biblical and Jewish themes.  His very original drawing
style was known as the "style of Matzkin," his images stand out in their
crystallized strength and dramatic movement and he was considered a
wonderful portraitist.

His important works were displayed with great acclaim in the
Pennsylvania Academy of Art in Philadelphia, in the Art Institute of
Chicago, in the Museum of Fine Arts of Boston, and in many shows across
the United States.
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