Anatoli Kaplan was born into a Jewish family in Rahachow in the Russian Pale of Settlement (now Belarus) in 1902, the son of a butcher. He moved to Leningrad around 1922, graduating from the Higher Art and Technical Institute, VKhUTEIN (the former Imperial Academy of Arts) in 1927, where he learned the art of printmaking, at which he excelled, developing many original techniques. His first cycle of prints, between 1937 and 1940 was entitled 'Kasrilevska', the name of the village invented by the leading Yiddish writer and playwright Sholem Aleichem. His second lithographic cycle, Landscapes of Leningrad during the Days of the Blockade (1948), was greeted with great acclaim and bought by 18 state galleries. From the 1950s, Kaplan's art concentrated on Jewish themes, despite obstruction from the Soviet authorities. He lived in Leningrad fro the rest of his life but drew on the subject of the towns and shtetls of his childhood, whose characters often appear in his work. Amongst these works are his cover and illustrations to the Jewish Folk Poetry song cycle by Dmitri Shostakovich (1977), Jewish Folk Songs (1962), illustrations to Aleichem's Tevye the Milkman (3 series, 1957-1966), The Bewitched Tailor (1954-57) and Song of Songs (1962), and an extensive series of coloured lithographs on the old Jewish Passover song Chad Gadya (One Kid Goat). Throughout this time Kaplan was also producing paintings, though because of their subject matter they were rarely displayed in the Russia of his time. From 1967 onward he began also to produce ceramics and sculptures, including a set based on the characters of Gogol's Dead Souls. Kaplan died in Leningrad, in 1980, aged 77. There have been major exhibitions of Kaplan's work in New York (1992), Amsterdam and Jerusalem, and, in 1995, an important retrospective was held at the State Russian Museum in St Petersburg.