One of the most well-known proverbs among the many concerning Jerusalem, is taken from the Babylonian Talmud: “Of the 10 measures of beauty that God hath bestowed upon the world, nine of these fall to the lot of Jerusalem." To someone for whom the city is a home and an identity, one cannot help but notice its unique beauty and power, which is seen in even the smallest details. The trees, the houses, the stones all tell the story of Jerusalem and create a landscape that is difficult to remain indifferent to.
This landscape, with its small and precise details, is painted by Lily Lewit. Her work combines tremendous love for the city, its trees, alleys and streets, and the memories that have shaped her since she was a child and continue to accompany her to this day. Lewit's works can be viewed as documenting a city, one that is not urban in the strict sense, but soft and even caressing.
One city – two worlds
To understand Lewit's works, it is worth getting to know the painter who manages to combine two seemingly opposite worlds. Lewit studied painting and art in London after her military service. She continued to pursue art at the end of her studies when she returned to Israel, simultaneously studying interior design and building engineering. She translated her love for the city into the real estate consulting firm she established in Rehavia, which has become one of the city’s most prominent and leading agencies.
However, the real estate business, together with the family she created, distanced Lewit somewhat from painting, although her love for art remained in her. But in recent years she has returned to it. Back to creating nature paintings in oil on canvas, which incorporate trees of almost all kinds, including the eucalyptus that grew near the house where she grew up, and all in a size that resembles a kind of walk in nature.
So far, Lewit has mounted a solo exhibition at the Jerusalem Theater, "Trees Tell." In addition, she exhibits at online exhibitions, and is part of a group exhibition displayed at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital. "Sometimes there are elements in a painting that people should be placed next to in order to understand their dimensions and size. Recently, I also started to incorporate figures," she says. "I used to paint a lot of portraits, but I moved on to painting landscapes."
When Lewit is asked to tell about the inspiration for her paintings, she explains that she absorbs it from the existing environment and from what is etched in her memory. "It's an ongoing dialogue and consultations. Sometimes I put down a painting and then go back to it," she says, adding that everything and every place ignites her inspiration, especially the trees scattered through the city where she grew up, where she lives today, and where she helps many find a home.
“Inspiration comes from every corner. Suddenly I encounter a puddle on a morning walk, and the rocks and trees are reflected against the broken asphalt and blue sky. I engage with amazing details and reflections that have become a little paradise," providing a glimpse into her sources of inspiration Perhaps many of Lewit's trees are painted in fall colors, delicate and soft but they stand firm against the backdrop of the mountains that surround the city. This, along with paintings of green and fresh trees that give life to the mountainous landscape, which at times seems still.
Tranquility and nature in the living room
The fact that Lewit makes a living from her other love – real estate – makes her work even more real and "clean" – work that comes from the heart and seeks to enter the hearts of those for whom Jerusalem is dear. “For me, art is not motivated by a need to make a living," she says, "but is only for the sake of the soul. I make a living from being a real estate agent. But I want to be able to touch the soul and emotions of the audience."
"The corona period has also changed a few things for me," she continues, "Participating in online exhibitions has changed the size of the paintings and made the subjects more varied. I feel I have passed a stage in wanting to share with those who are interested."
And to reach a wider audience with her work, Lewit is in the process of setting up a dedicated website, where she can feature her highly accurate and moving landscape paintings. We can assume that many will be mesmerized by the natural landscape of Jerusalem as presented by Lewit with great talent and refinement, by someone who loves art and the city that has shaped her life.
Alongside investing in art, Lewit continues to lead the real estate agency that she heads. Her office in Rehavia specializes in all types of transactions in the private and business market in the city's older neighborhoods. For Lewit, to be a real estate agent means to engage in one of the most important things for a person – his home. In addition to accompanying clients to carry out the transaction on the financial side, she mobilizes the knowledge and talent she has gained in her art and interior design studies, and also assists in the design and upgrading of the property.
“Many times I advise my clients to take this or that piece of furniture out of the apartment, or to move a picture and feel more of the space." She says," I feel that my paintings give a kind of therapeutic and relaxing aura. They bring serenity and nature from the outside in, along with all its soothing colors. Awareness of nature is a very central motif in my paintings, and this is something I also express a great deal in my work in the real estate field: the emphasis on maintaining green spaces.
“This is probably due to the impact of my travels around the world, culture that I’ve absorbed in different places, looking around at what is there and what is not. Today, for example, it does not bother me that people build, but [they must] conserve their environment and create a place that is nice to live in. I don’t oppose construction, I oppose construction that takes away green spaces from human beings."
Lewit also offers her works in prints, in order to allow as many people as possible to enjoy them and bring the natural landscapes of Jerusalem into their home. And it remains to be hoped that she will still fulfill her dream: to mount an exhibition and present her works in Israel or abroad, thus presenting the nature of the city, which some would say is the most beautiful in the world, to as many people as possible.