Rabbi with Cat
© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2004

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Rabbi with Cat about 1912
For many years this painting was known as 'Monk with Cat', though the figure is in fact a Rabbi. The two men carrying sacks in the background are Jews fleeing a pogrom. The Hand of God can be seen in the top-left corner, blessing the Rabbi, who may be stroking the cat for the last time before he too departs. The picture is indebted to Russian icons. We can read an analogy between the Rabbi and cat and the Virgin and Child. The painting delivers a poignant message about compassion, suffering and religious intolerance.

Glossary Open


A devotional image, usually depicting Christ, the Virgin Mary or a saint, traditionally associated with the Byzantine, Greek and Roman Orthodox Churches. By extension, it is used to denote an important and enduring symbol.


An organized decimation of an ethnic group, first applied to violent attacks on Jews in Russia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Icon, Pogrom


  • Acc. No. GMA 796
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 100.20 x 92.00 cm
  • Credit Purchased with funds given by two anonymous donors 1962