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Simeon Solomon's fascination with faith and the aesthetic qualities of religious ritual often produced work featuring young men in idealised roles as rabbis, priest or acolytes rapt in mystical contemplation. His young Rabbi is shown in synagogue with the ner tamid (everlasting light) behind him, holding a lulav (palm leaf), one of the four species (arbah minim) usually bound together. These indicate the festival of Succot, although the three other plants used in the ritual are missing from the picture. Nevertheless, his Jewish subject paintings have been called 'among the best of what is commonly called Jewish art, notwithstanding the fact that the artist, early in life, had become converted from nominal Jewish orthodoxy to a fervent Catholicism'.
charcoal on paper
H 51.2 x W 34.2 cm
purchased with the assistance of Mosheh Oved, 1918
Drawing & watercolour
Signed and dated (lower right): S Solomon 1893