Born in Jerusalem in 1954 of Syrian-Jewish parents, Levy trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in both Rome and Florence between 1975 and 1978, before returning to Jerusalem in 1979, where he enrolled in the Department of General History and History of Muslim Countries at the Hebrew University. His nomadic instincts were re-ignited three years later, when he was awarded a two-year artist-in-residence fellowship at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam, followed by a further two year stint, this time in Paris, after receiving a grant from the Fondation de France.
This international trajectory could not have suited Ra’anan better. For in all these ports of call, rich slices of the history of art were absorbed. Gericault, Ingres, David and other giants of eighteenth and nineteenth century French painting, the Dutch Masters Hals, Rembrandt and Vermeer, the many inestimable artists of the Italian Renaissance and even antiquities of his own Oriental heritage fed and fuelled his urge to produce his own personal body of work.
Such is Levy’s inspiration that his need to make art is quite obsessive - a profound appetite sated everyday, be it through painting, drawing or print-making. Each medium is used intensively - whether the subject-matter be the profile of a face, a still-life or a tree-trunk rising from the artists’ back-yard in Jerusalem, all are rendered by firm, distinct markings, worked over and over again - deliberate and controlled, leaving a clear and unmistakable image. There is no compromise. There is no distraction.
Numerous retrospectives of his work have been held internationally. The first was in 2006 at the Musée Maillol in Paris. Two years later the Tel Aviv Museum of Art produced another entitled The poetics of Space. His work is is held in many international public collections including the Uffizi in Florence, The Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Israel Museum in Tel Aviv.