Close
Close

Accessibility

Interface

Adjust the interface to make it easier to use for different conditions.
This renders the document in high contrast mode.
This renders the document as white on black
This can help those with trouble processing rapid screen movements.
This loads a font easier to read for people with dyslexia.
הקיסר והדבורים

Crafted by Bees


  • Date iconApril 11 2024
  • Curators: Dudi Mevorach and Rami Tareef
          Assistant curator: Natalie Peselev Stern
  • Designer: Netanel Dahan
  • Focus Gallery

Design and archaeology are two fields usually seen as unconnected. They do, however, share an interest in technology – and it was against this background that a unique project at the Israel Museum came into being.

A rare bronze statue of the second-century Roman Emperor Hadrian, today part of the Museum's permanent exhibition, was cast in antiquity using the lost-wax technique, in which beeswax was employed when creating the model for the bronze portrait. This ancient method is echoed in the fascinating work of prominent Slovakian-born artist-designer Tomáš Libertíny, who creates wax sculptures with the help of honeybees. Libertíny sees himself as a conductor of a natural orchestra represented by bees. The artist steps away from the work’s production, allowing contemporary design and technology to combine with the collective intelligence of a bee colony. In conversations between the curators of design and archaeology, the two realized that Libertíny’s expertise could be used to recreate the ancient lost wax version of Hadrian's statue.

With the professional help of beekeeper Rafi Nir, Libertíny and the curators placed beehives in the Museum’s Art Garden. Inside were 3D-printed mesh models of the statue; internal cameras followed 100,000 bees while they built honeycombs on Hadrian's head. The reconstructed portrait affords a fresh look at a singular exhibit in the Museum’s archaeological display.

Hadrian’s honeycomb sculpture connects layers of historical knowledge with the Museum’s contemporary role, preserving the past while engaging with present-day social and environmental issues. The project promotes an eco-centric approach, not only as an ideology; in the Museum’s Art Garden, the beehives have become part of the landscape, a means of cultivating nature in an urban environment.

 

Statue of the Emperor Hadrian, Fort of the Seventh Roman Ala (regiment) – Tel Shalem, Jordan Valley, 130 CE, bronze and lead
Israel Antiquities Authority 1975-763
Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by John Williams
Tomáš Gabzdil Libertíny, born Slovakia 1979, active Netherlands, Honeycomb head of the Emperor Hadrian, 2023
Beeswax on 3D-printed polygon mesh model
Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Tomáš Gabzdil Libertíny
Tomáš Gabzdil Libertíny, born Slovakia 1979, active Netherlands, Honeycomb head of the Emperor Hadrian, 2023
Beeswax on 3D-printed polygon mesh model
Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Zohar Shemesh

 

Exhibition made possible by the donors to the Israel Museum’s Exhibition Fund

Claudia Davidoff, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in memory of Ruth and Leon Davidoff

Hanno D. Mott, New York

The Nash Family Foundation, New York      

Assistance provided by Evi Musher Shechter

 

Exhibition was made possible by