The Jewish Art Salon presents Spinoza: Marrano of Reason. The complex legacy of groundbreaking 17th-century Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza is the subject of this two-site exhibition opening March 7th at Amsterdam’s historic Amstelkerk and the Plein van Siena. Robert Brandwayn’s “Starting Again” was featured in the Amstelkerk site. 

Robert Brandwayn participated in the exhibition ‘Spinoza: Marrano of Reason’, organized by the Jewish Art Salon, in the historic Amstelkerk and in the Plein van Siena, in the city of Amsterdam, Holland.

The exhibition, which opened on March 7, 2019, bases its theme on the legacy of the innovative 17th-century Dutch philosopher, Baruch Spinoza, and based on this, invited 40 contemporary artists to participate with an art work inspired by the Spinoza’s philosophy and life exploration topics, such as identity, compliance, immigration, community, exile, spirituality and more.

Robert Brandwayn participated with his work ‘Starting Again’, a work in mixed media on canvas, of 2017.

Spinoza, whose ancestors had fled the Inquisition for the Netherlands, had a traditional Jewish education, but when he was a young adult, he came to believe that human beings should live their lives guided by reason. His ideas shook the world and were considered so heretical, that he was excommunicated for life from the Jewish community in Amsterdam. Today, he is remembered for rejecting divine transcendence in favor of rationality, a concept that paved the way for the Enlightenment. The title of the exhibition refers to Spinoza and other heretics: The Marrano of the reason, written by scholar Yirmiyahu Yovel.

The exhibition featured the Curatorship of Janet Heit – New York – known for introducing emerging artists to the main cultural circuits, and Billha Zussman as the Curator assistant, an Israeli-Dutch artist working at the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam, with a long-standing interest in Spinoza.
The Amstelkerk, one of the venues of the exhibition, is an old church, built entirely of wood, between 1668 and 1670. The building organizes monthly art exhibitions, concerts and conferences.

The Plein van Siena, the second of the venues of the exhibition, is a center of study, reflection, meeting and spirituality in Amsterdam-Zuid. They regularly present exhibitions of contemporary visual artists and activities around culture, philosophy, theology and humanity.