Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur is based on the artist’s memories of the synagogue in the town of his birth. This complex composition includes twenty portraits of individuals who played a role in the artist’s life, among them his parents, his fiancée, members of her family, and even the artist himself at different stages in his life. In one of these portrayals he appears as a young man standing to the right of the Torah, deep in thought in the midst of the ceremony. Strangely, the painting anticipates Gottlieb’s death the following year in the Hebrew inscription on a panel affixed to the Torah: “Donated in memory of the late honored teacher and rabbi Moshe Gottlieb of blessed memory, 1878.
Maurycy Gottlieb
(Galician, 1856-1879)
Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur, 1878
Oil on canvas
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv; Gift of Sidney Lamon, New York