“In his dexterity Szyk recalls a bygone age of monastic scribes slaving over parchment pages. [His] illustrations are more intricate than Swiss watch works and sublimely obsessive. Reproductions hardly do the originals justice.”
— Michael Kimmelman, The New York Times
“Arthur Szyk’s drawings are evidence of an exceptional mastery of crafts and of artistic inspiration.”
— Katja Widmann and Johannes Zechner, Curators, Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, 2008
“To call Arthur Szyk the greatest illuminator since the sixteenth century is no flattery. It is the simple truth which becomes manifest to any person who studies his work with the care which it deserves.”
— Cecil Roth, Historian, London, 1940s
“[Szyk] makes not only cartoons, but beautiful composed pictures which suggest, in their curiously decorative quality, the inspired illuminations of the early religious manuscripts.”
— Thomas Craven, Art Critic, New York, 1940s
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Illuminated Productions is a partnership formed by Irvin Ungar and Jim Ruxin to produce documentary films about Arthur Szyk. They met at an antiquarian Book Fair in Los Angeles, where Ungar introduced Ruxin to Szyk’s art. There they shared the discovery that Szyk’s intricate work, usually never larger than a page, could be brought to wider audiences when enlarged and given the gift of movement and music.
Their first collaborative effort was a visit to Mercer Island High School in Seattle, Washington. In the short film, "Arthur Szyk: Soldier in Art," teachers and students interact with the art and respond to its messages. This film was well received by educators and the public, screening at eight international film festivals in the US, Warsaw, Jerusalem, and Mexico City.
When Ungar began work on an entirely new edition of the The Szyk Haggadah, another film began to take shape. Over the next two years the producers documented the re-creation of this technically and creatively challenging project. This film, "In Every Generation: Remaking The Szyk Haggadah," accompanies each Deluxe and Premier limited edition of the Historicana publication.
In 2012, Hollywood composer Richard Friedman was inspired by Szyk’s work and created an original score that musically interpreted the issues about which Szyk was most passionate. Together, the music and 64 images dramatically capture the essence of Arthur Szyk as an activist artist. It is a wordless exploration of the ideals of American democracy, the horrors of the Nazi era the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the hope-filled rebirth of the Jewish people in the land of Israel.
The producers have prepared a treatment to summarize what is needed to complete a feature length documentary about the life and art of Arthur Szyk. Interested parties should contact Irvin Ungar at (650) 343-9578 or by email. You can also read an introduction to the treatment.