In a posthumous retrospective exhibition at the National Museum of Damascus, the late critic Tariq Al-Sharif spoke of Mahmoud Jalal's contribution as an artist, as well as an “educator of generations of artists, and a distinct personality within our artistic movement [who] remained faithful to his principles until the end.”
Born in Tripoli, Libya, Mahmoud Jalal (1891–1975) graduated from the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome. While studying painting, he also took sculpture courses at night at the San Jacomo Institute. After returning to Syria, he went on to contribute to the founding of the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus in 1960 and lectured there until 1970.
During his lifetime, Jalal is credited with completing around 80 artworks consisting of neo-classical inspired paintings and modern symbolic sculptures and monuments. In his paintings, he depicts nature, nude models as well as scenes from Syrian domestic life. Tied to the politics of the post-independence era in Syria, his portrayals of rural areas and people were used as an expression of nationalism, while his bas-relief or carved sculptures focused on historical figures or nationalist themes. Commissioned by the state, Jalal completed several public monuments, including a memorial for the children who died in a fire in the city of Amouda.
In 1971, Jalal was awarded with the Syrian National Garter. His work is held in public collections such as the National Museum of Damascus, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Education, and is part of private collections internationally.