Wandering Among the Sculptures at the Billy Rose Art Garden

Billy Rose Art Garden, Jerusalem
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A note to my readers: The world is still dealing with Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, and it will be a long time before we can travel freely again. For many of us that will mean staycations and more local travel, but I will continue posting new content for you to read at home and to inspire your future travels. Happy reading and stay safe!

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It was a sunny Sunday morning, and I was strolling through a peaceful garden. This was the Billy Rose Art Garden, in the grounds of Jerusalem’s Israel Museum. The Museum has some impressive exhibits, including the Dead Sea Scrolls and extensive collections of art and archaeology. But the Scrolls would have to wait for another time: I was here for the sculpture.

Billy Rose Art Garden, Jerusalem
Ahava (Love) by Robert Indiana at the Billy Rose Art Garden

Walking Through the Billy Rose Art Garden

I had the garden almost to myself. The sounds of birdsong and distant church bells competed for my attention. The paths were lined with fragrant plants. And there were sculptures everywhere, in perfect harmony with their surroundings.

Billy Rose Art Garden, Jerusalem
Pinnable image of “Turning the world upside down” by Anish Kapoor

Completed in 1965, the Billy Rose Art Garden was the work of Isamu Noguchi, an American sculptor. He followed the principles of Zen design, using a variety of different materials such as concrete, gravel and water, and featuring mostly native plants. The garden is set on a steep hillside, so that panoramic views of the city are incorporated into the landscape.

Sculpture by Henry Moore
Three piece sculpture: vertebrae, by Henry Moore
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Sculptures Old and New

Some of the sculptures are by well known artists. As you enter the garden you are greeted by a statue of Adam by Auguste Rodin. Later on, a sculpture by Henry Moore poses against the city skyline. But others are more modern, often by contemporary Israeli sculptors. There is a giant stainless steel apple core, and the appropriately named “Turning the World Upside Down”, which reflects and inverts its surroundings.

Apple Core sculpture
Apple Core, by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen

The modern sculptures have not always been admired by everyone. It is said that Billy Rose, the American showman who founded and gave his name to the garden, commented that they should be “melted down for bullets”! Modern visitors might well disagree. For myself, I enjoyed the juxtaposition of old and new, and the pleasure of turning every corner to find something different.

Rodin sculpture of Adam
Rodin’s statue of Adam is in perfect harmony with the garden

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3 thoughts on “Wandering Among the Sculptures at the Billy Rose Art Garden”

  1. Kristin Henning

    Yes, the Billy Rose Sculpture Garden is quite a surprise. Just another wonderful reason to spend an entire day at the Israel Museum. It’s all really impressive and interesting, and the sculptures add some fun, too.

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Karen Warren

WorldWideWriter is owned and managed by Karen Warren.

I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 70 countries at the last count), and I’ve visited every continent except Antarctica. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way. Read more…

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