Presented here, a painting which is unparalleled in its portrayal of an age-old revered mystical subject, The Kabbalah, painted by the Russian-European artist, Ari Roussimoff, whose works have been widely acclaimed and exhibited in notable galleries and museums, such as Nakhamkin Gallery of Madison Avenue and Soho and New York’s Nicholas Roehrich Museum, as well as seventy others around the world.

Painted in 1984, this Roussimoff painting, ”EARTH, FIRE, WATER, BEHOLD THE KABBALIST", occupies a unique place in the artist’s oeuvre and was last exhibited in 1985, in the Nicholas Roerich Museum, where visitors were transfixed by its mystical allure. The artist refused to sell it. He retained the painting in his personal collection for many years, because he considers its transcendent powers to be a profoundly creative and personal inspiration. The painting has not been exhibited for almost twenty years. We invite you to study the painting and draw yourself into its magical light. So powerful was the mystical magnetism in the artist’s creation of ”EARTH, FIRE, WATER, BEHOLD THE KABBALIST”, that Roussimoff considered himself a vessel for transforming his vision, using his unique skills and talents, into a powerfully inspirational work of art. What follows is the moving story of ”EARTH, FIRE, WATER, BEHOLD THE KABBALIST”, Roussimoff’s long-time fascination with Mysticism and Kabbalism, his visits to historic Kabbalistic landmarks around the world, his poignant encounter with a contemporary philosopher of Kabbalah, Rabbi Philip Berg many years ago, the significant personal experience, which led Roussimoff to paint this truly profound work and,finally, an explanation of the Mystical and Kabbalist symbols within this complex and magical painting. ”EARTH, FIRE, WATER, BEHOLD THE KABBALIST” is a Genuine Signed & Dated Ari Roussimoff Oil on Canvas Painting, measuring a large-sized 26 x 30 inches.


Roussimoff views art and all creativity as being a highly spiritual process, not unlike prayer. To him all life is filled with unseen mystery. Kabbalah and Mysticism are subjects which have pulled at Roussimoff since his childhood, perhaps in part because he is a direct descendent of one of the greatest Chassidic leaders and Kabbalists, the illustrious Rabbi Reb Meir of Premishlan, tales of whom have been recounted by philosophers, such as Martin Buber. The many spellings of the word: Cabbala, Quabala, Kabbalah, were even a fascination to the young Roussimoff. And, he in time came to see its importance, not only for Judaism, but also for other religions, as well as inspirational and spiritual schools of thought. During boyhood, Roussimoff familiarized himself with Kabbalah oriented literature by great authors, such as Gerschom Scholem, Dagobert Runes, and numerous other commentaries on the Zohar, etc. He traveled to that ancient historic Kabbalist Town of Safed, in Israel, where he painted on location and experienced great spirituality at important landmarks.

On a stay in New York in the early eighties Roussimoff discovered that Touro College was hosting some lectures by the modern Kabbalist Rabbi Philip S. Berg. Since it was open to all, he attended several talks and found them highly inspiring. Rabbi Philip Berg eventually organized a Kabbalah Centre, which has attracted the interest of many people, including such notables as Madonna, Britney Spears, Barbra Streisand, Diane Keaton and Elizabeth Taylor. It is not surprising that people of all religious denominations are attracted to Kabbalah today.

In 1984, Roussimoff’s elderly father suffered a severe stroke, which left him comatose. Doctors declared him brain dead (One doctor even staked his reputation on his conviction that his father would never come out of the coma, and, if he did, he would be in a vegetative state). Roussimoff, ever believing in other forces, barely knowing Rabbi Berg, telephoned him and asked the Rabbi to pray for his father, which the Rabbi agreed to do. After a month-long coma, sure enough, the doctors’ awful predictions were proved false, when Roussimoff’s father emerged from the coma. Although there was some physical damage, his father’s mind was fully functional, and he lived productively for another eight years. The hospital proclaimed it a miracle, which was beyond medical understanding. The painting, ”EARTH, FIRE, WATER, BEHOLD THE KABBALIST”, was created as a direct expression of the miraculous recovery of the artist's father. It is a beautiful melding of both warm and cool colours, while never obtrusive, with deep and rich hues, and is a modern inspiration, recalling the traditions of the Dutch and Italian Old Master painting schools. ”EARTH, FIRE, WATER, BEHOLD THE KABBALIST” speaks to the mysteries of the universe and the power of miracles.


Light, Energy, Time

The "Light" of true knowledge glows magically around the deeply penetrating eyes of the wise and holy Kabbalist.


Here certainly, the Sage's eyes provide a mirror to the soul.

Like the Alchemist of Medieval Europe, who pursues his Alchemy within highly personal passions not commonly understood, so too does the Kabbalist, who has brought himself to a higher plateau of knowledge, one not often comprehended by even those sharing equal piety. Roussimoff has made an intense study of the unique use of light employed by Rembrandt in paintings, such as "Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer". In ”EARTH, FIRE, WATER, BEHOLD THE KABBALIST”, the light seems to emanate both internally and externally, signifying that the revered Kabbalist is both illuminated with the light of the universe, while at the same time enlightening all that surrounds him. Ornate gold candelabras and chandeliers are symbols of light everlasting, since the beginning of human kind.


Light also assumes the form of electricity, both in the modern sense and in the purest sense of energy, an overwhelming power (knowledge), which must be hidden in order to be properly used and then only for good. Everything is interrelated. There are references to Earth, Fire, and Water. Mystical triangles


evolve into simple compositional planes designating the interior and




also serve to frame exterior scenes of streets and industry. There is a topsy turvey and almost chaotic feel to an industrial street where, in full contradiction to this setting, a father strolls most calmly with his playful little son with the mother watching protectively, knowing full well that their lives will be fulfilled. Just above them, a Church building floats in the distance, symbolizing the universal attraction and vitality that Kabbalah has had throughout history for many Christians as well as Jews.


Time is eternal, as represented in the depiction of the clocks. Life, Death, Reincarnation, Resurrection are all integrated into the composition. Biblical predictions are integrated with elements of the past, present and future. A hand thrusts forth a note featuring Hebrew calligraphy.


This is from a Biblical text that relays how the Creator presented the future to Moses, reinforcing that which was also promised to Abraham. The empty circle which appears in the center of the text does not in any way represent emptiness. On the contrary, as the Bible can be understood through the practice of Kabbalism, it's essence can be fulfilled by the active Kabbalist. Thus, the shape of the circle mirrors


the shape of the spiritual light which encircles the Rabbi's eyes, thereby making possible the fulfillment of all Holy Scripture via the will of mankind. In the center left of the painting is a Sabbath Service in a Hassidic Synagogue. Founded in 18th Century Ukraine by Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, early Hassidism was strongly inspired by Kabbalah, and many of the legendary Rabbis were alleged to have miracle-working powers, such as Rabbi Levi Isaac of Berditchev and the artist's own ancestor, Rabbi Meir of Premishlan. People (both Jews and Non-Jews) came from far and wide to seek their guidance. One sees the pious Rabbi passionately holding the Torah Scrolls to his heart during the Holy Sabbath,

with the life of the small Russian town (shtetl) in the background,


the artist's ancestral dwellings.

The small window on the upper left features an ancient cemetery.


The airplane coming through the sky represents high energy life-force, which the artist relates also to the idea of the afterlife (Olem Habeh). Surrounding the window is a seemingly enigmatic circle of dancing Court Jesters, symbolic of an illusion of frivolous joy in those who remain in the darkness. In the upper right of the painting is a scene that shows how our destinies are in our own hands.


On the bottom right of the painting is a table with a boiling samovar. This scene symbolizes Roussimoff’s father’s miraculous recovery from his devastating stroke. The father (Roussimoff's father)and his son(depicted as a child to symbolize innocence) study scripture, as the spirit of the ancient Kabbalist Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, author of the Zohar, chants prayers nearby.


The present and past are but one.


The painting comes with a handsome wooden frame that was especially custom-commissioned for it. 





Oil on Canvas by Ari Roussimoff