For part of 1924 and throughout 1925 Bomberg worked on series of architectural landscapes documenting the Old City of Jerusalem, observed from the rooftops of the Austrian Post Office and nearby private homes. Among them is the Pool of Hezekiah (1925), one of at least three versions of this subject, focusing on a section of this water reservoir near the Muristan (Persian for hospice) in the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem, where pilgrims and the sick were offered protection during the Crusader period. S. Rachum in David Bomberg in Palestine, 1923–1927, has noted that not only are all of these paintings seen ‘within a 45 degree arc looking from north to east’, but that they are also ‘meticulously executed to the minutest detail’. In this version, only part of the pool compound can be seen, its greenish water half-bathed in a diagonal shadow cast against the backdrop of the stepped buildings behind. In contrast to the earlier Siloam and the Mount of Olives, however, the canvas is washed with colour; the extraordinarily blue Jerusalem sky offsets the warm sloping rooftops in the background, while the foreground is dominated by low, flat horizontals that give the work a strongly geometric structure, partly reminiscent of Bomberg’s early pre-war cubo-futurist works and indicative of his later concern with the ‘spirit in the mass’.
We are very grateful to Sarah MacDougall for preparing this catalogue entry.