Modern / Contemporary Ketubah

The ketubahs you’ll find in my modern ketubah collection are not your Bubbe’s marriage contracts. A modern ketubah is a contemporary twist on a tradition that is thousands of years old.

Historians say the very first ketubah was written in 440 BCE. The earliest ketubahs were either just text, or calligraphy accompanied by an ornamental border. I draw inspiration from the patterns and abstract symbols of these timeless, ancient artifacts to create contemporary, sophisticated ketubah designs that reflect modern life. While the same Orthodox Aramaic text that was used 2000 years ago is still a standard option for all ketubahs in my collection, you also have the option of pairing your art with a ketubah text that, like you the art, reflects the diversity and modernity of life and Jewish identity today.

A Modern Ketubah, Custom-Made by Contemporary Judaica Artist Anna Abramzon

Herman and Marcie’s Super Modern Custom Ketubah

Our contemporary lives are fast paced, full of possibility and opportunity, but also dotted with distracting dings, too many options, and constant demands on our attention. My modern ketubah art reflects the excitement and vibrancy of contemporaneity, while focusing on the importance of being mindful of the present moment. After all, meeting your partner and planning a wedding with the one you love is a once in a lifetime experience. My ketubah art captures those intimate, fleeting moments and gives you a way to bottle that feeling and hang it proudly on your wall for the rest of your life together.

Just as the Modernism art movement was a reflection of transformations in society at the turn of the last century, so does contemporary Judaica art reflect our changing world. While many of my designs have the same Jewish and nature themes, such as the Tree of Life, Hamsa, and Jerusalem, so does it have modern skylines with skyscrapers (including the option to paint the city of your choice) and figurative paintings of couples in love (something unheard of in traditional Judaica art!).

Contemporary Ketubah with urbanist skyline

Custom Skyline Ketubah with Philadelphia Skyline

My ketubah designs draw inspiration from some of my favorite artists ranging from early Modernists like Marc Chagall, Expressionists like Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, Impressionists like Renoir, all the way to more contemporary portraitists like Lucian Freud. 

A Ketubah in modernist style blending into a present-day interior design

Love’s Embrace Ketubah ketubah inspired by Gustav Klimt

I never thought of myself as a modern artist. I was extremely lucky to receive a very traditional art education in my teens, with amazing teachers and mentors who really focused on technique, but none of them were fans of abstract or contemporary art.  I spent hours poring over studies from the Great Masters, and hours and hours trying to mimic their techniques.  It wasn’t until I got to art school for college that I was introduced to modern art that blew my mind. Doing my BFA at  The School of the Art Institute of Chicago I learned modern art does not have to be abstract and that I didn’t have to choose between technique and modernity.

A modern minimalist ketubah

Argentine Tango Ketubah

Before art school, I equated contemporary art entirely with postmodernists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. I found their commentary on modern life interesting, but the aesthetic of the art itself wasn’t my cup of tea. While postmodern art was entertaining and made me think, I was always more drawn to art that elicited a more emotional response. I wanted art that made me feel. As a young art student I discovered and I fell in love with contemporary artists Jenny Saville, Marlene Dumas, and John Currin, and discovered modern master realists like Chuck Close. You can see the influence of all these incredible painters in my paintings and drawings to this day.

When searching for a modern ketubah, keep in mind that it will stay with you long after the wedding day. You want to make sure to select a ketubah text that reflects your values and contemporary ketubah art that tells your love story as accurately when you sign it as it does on your 60th wedding anniversary.  That’s why I make art that combines traditional elements and Jewish symbols as well as modern color combinations, contemporary clean lines, and figurative imagery. But my number one goal when making ketubah art is for it to make you feel something – and I hope that something is love.

These special collections of ketubot may also interest you:

Ketubah not your thing? Try a fancy marriage certificate instead!