Although the Revolution of 1917 granted emancipation to the nearly six million Jews in Russia, civil wars erupted soon afterward in the Ukraine, accompanied by renewed anti-Semitic activity. Destruction of the Ghetto had its source in the pogrom of 1919, in which Manievich's son was killed. With fractured planes and harsh angularity of line, Manievich depicts the tumbledown building, the empty streets, and the abandoned synagogue of the once-great Jewish community of Kiev. A blazing sky forms the background; all that remains in the foreground is a stray goat, a symbol of the former Jewish presence.

Manievich was part of the international artistic avant-garde of the early 20th century. Like many other Jewish artist, he was intimately involved with the cause of the Russian Revolution, which, it was hoped, would bring about a renaissance of Jewish culture, suppressed under the old regime. The explosive cubo-futurist style was appropriate to the intensity of the revolutionary period both in art and in society. Although initially embraced by Lenin and the new state, Manievich and other modern artists, including Chagall, soon found themselves ostracized by virtue of both their religion and their art. Manievich emigrated in 1921 to the United States where he enjoyed critical acclaim until his death in 1942.


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