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The Last Painting of Jacopo Massini

Zadok Zemach

Jacopo Massini, a poor and unknown Renaissance artist wants to paint  a fresco in a monastery in Milan. His dream of creating a masterpiece is finally about to come true, but Jacopo is weak and unwell and the inflexible abbot of the monastery tries to tell him what to paint and how... Ezra Na’im, an elderly Jerusalemite, goes shopping in the market and is dazzled by the beauty of a young woman in a red car; what happens between them leaves the old timers with their jaw dropping… Claire, formerly Batya, escapes from her poor childhood neighborhood  in South Tel Aviv and begins a new life in Paris, but one day she longs for her parents, and makes a phone call… A modest old woman, Masleha, joins an outing of her retirement home to the Dead Sea. On the way she gets a stomach ache but is too shy to ask the bus driver to stop, until she can’t hold it any more and, for the first time in her life, she breaks free… Elazar, a divorced man, causes an uproar in his hosts' home in Germany, involving his ex-wife and his son, an Arab migrant accused of theft and two police officers. Although Elazar wants to come to the Arab’s defense, he can’t find the courage and remains silent...

    In vivid language, with enormous imagination and compassion, Zemach spins dramatic stories about small, weak people. They cultivate dreams, they long for a little beauty in their dismal lives, and sometimes they enjoy moments of grace.     


Marvelous stories – the form, the language, the abundance. Makes us want more.

Shmuel Faust, TV Channel 1

Stories that seem to take you by the hand and lead you, the reader, into another reality, one with a gallery of characters whose personal tales, as little  as they may be, will give you a powerful experience. Zemach knows how to tell a story, and especially to describe … In vivid, tempestuous and tortuous language Zadok Zemach has woven his tales in all their colors and odors. With an abundant and forgiving imagination he leads his characters through the alleys of Florence and Jerusalem and the streets of Paris, each one with its own world turning upside down, but left with a ray of light.

Ito Aviram, Hitrashmut 

 His style is mature, virtuoso, varied ... His characters represent a profuse and rich world … One cannot write about this slim volume, small in quantity but great in quality, without mentioning the beauty of the language … I delighted in Zadok Zemach’s book as if a rare surprise had befallen me, a gift of beauty that should be announced from the rooftops, for which we must express gratitude, and await those to come in its wake. 

Author Judith Rotem


Where have you been all this time, Zadok Zemach? … Why have you denied us your acute descriptive power – your colorfulness  and your economic exuberance that can only accommodate fiction? … In these stories there is a conscious and original engagement, free of stereotypes on the one hand and from ethnic bellicosity on the other ... At the core of each story there is drama, there is universal human conflict … Zemach [has a] dramatic talent for creating emotional tension and emotional release.  

Makor Rishon


The uniqueness and beauty of  this collection of short stories stand out from the moment you begin reading … Zemach writes brilliantly, utilizing a rich and lavish language, and using accurate and marvelous idioms. He describes the moments of grace that he gives his readers by means of situations of monumental proportions … There is something of the miraculous and the theatrical in each of the stories, something larger than life, which manages to remain delicate, profound, and heart-wrenching Honestly, it has been a long time since I came across such a beautiful book. 

Kol Israel 1


Well written … The plots of the stories are totally alive, making the reader feel as if he is inside them. But why waste words: wonderful stories, highly recommended. 

News 1


A literary gem ... I was captivated by the magic of this book ... a literary pearl … This is a work of art, little that contains much, a complex and splendid human mosaic … The quality of this book is beyond all doubt, and it is unusual both from the point of view of the writing skill and the content. I sincerely hope that this book is merely an appetizer after which we will enjoy further works by this talented author. 



Each one of the stories succeeds in creating a powerful, thought-provoking world. Just like the characters, the readers too will not come out of it as the same people … Each story maintains suspense and grips the reader … An original point of view, like a movie in which a skillful editor has deftly spliced together shots made by different cameras … Beyond Zemach’s talent for bringing his characters to life, the book remains with the reader after  he has finished it … make him think about himself, about the choices he has made in his life, and about his place in the world.

Makor Rishon

Title The Last Painting of Jacopo Massini
Author’s Last Name Zemach
Author's First Name Zadok
Language(s) Hebrew
Genre stories
Publisher (Hebrew) Am Oved
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2014
No. Pages 166 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Ha-Tziyur Ha-Acharon Shel Jacopo Massini
Representation Represented by ITHL

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