The illustrator Bernard Picart (1673-1733) was a French Calvinist forced to relocate to the Netherlands following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. Between 1723 and 1737 he collaborated with the publisher Jean-Frédéric Bernard to produce Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses de tous les peuples du monde. It was soon translated into English and appeared in a number of editions over the next century. This encyclopedic documentation of comparative religions exemplifies the Enlightenment project of classification.
In the section on Judaism, Picart's illustrations primarily depicted the wealthy Sefardic community of Amsterdam. Although most of the Jewish population in Holland was Ashkenazi, having emigrated from Germany and further east, Picart's work focuses almost exclusively on those Jews whose appearance would have been most familiar to a Christian audience.
The prints by Picart established the conventional manner of depicting Jewish customs for centuries. Their reinterpretation in nineteenth-century books and twentieth-century postcards attests to the enduring popularity and influence of his images.