Happy Birthday, Herzl! Depictions Through Artistic Expression

On May 2, 1860, the Austro-Hungarian journalist, visionary, and father of modern political Zionism, was born. Theodor Herzl died in 1904, over four decades before the state of Israel was established, but his mission and passion continue to inspire dreams and action today. In honor of his birthday, below are some of our favorite depictions of Herzl in contemporary Israeli art.


Hanoch Piven, as a young man, went to New York to study and pursue his career as an artist. There, he developed a new and creative style of portraiture using a vast array of objects arranged together to look like a person, but which also told a story of their own. Hanoch Piven creates depictions of many famous people by assembling everyday objects. Hanging in the iCenter office is Hanoch Piven’s “Herzl,” which incorporates a variety of household items.


  1. What items do you see in the picture above?
  2. How do these objects illustrate facets of Herzl’s story?
  3. How do the interpretations of these images differ between people?
  4. What objects might you use in your depiction of Herzl?
  5. What about of yourself?


Graffiti is a form of artistic expression throughout Israel, and around the country you’ll find stencils of famous political figures. Golda Meir and Theodor Herzl are two prominent examples of this type of graffiti:

  1. Why do you think the artist paints these figures in this light? 
  2. What statement do you think the artist is making?


Stamps were invented in the UK in 1840, and have since become a collector’s item for many around the world. Two examples of Herzl stamps can be seen: the two on the left are from Israel, and the stamp on the right is from Herzl’s birth country, Austria.

  1. What do you see in both stamps?
  2. What are they highlighting? How do they compare?


In more than one way, social media has become a form of artistic expression. And people often express their creativity by creating social media accounts for popular figures. Facebook and Twitter accounts have been made for Theodor Herzl:

  1. If you had to compose a Tweet that Herzl would send out, what would it say? (Remember to keep it to 140 characters or less!)
  2. If you were Herzl, what would you post on Facebook? Would it be a picture, a phrase, a link? Who would you tag in it? Get creative!


“If you will it, it is no dream,” are Herzl’s famous words. Using this quote as an entry point, the documentary It Is No Dream: The Life of Theodor Herzl explores the life of Herzl through journal entries, photographs and interviews with historians.

Happy Birthday, Herzl!

Have another depiction of Herzl in art? Share it with us!

תחנות יסוד קשורות בתחום החינוך לישראל

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