Ben Shahn’s Allegory (1948), which is part of the collection of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, shows a lion with a fiery mane standing in an abstract red, blue, green and purple landscape. A bright red-orange structure in the bottom left corner might be a burning building. Underneath the lion is a heap of people, probably dead but perhaps sleeping. The sky is also a mixture of fire and smoke and the painting resembles depictions of hell in medieval manuscripts, where eternal punishment is often personified as a menacing and demonic beast. Whatever the allegory Shahn is depicting, one can be sure it is not intended to be a happy setting. Writing in The Jewish Press on June 14, 2006, Richard McBee noted the “deep irony” in what he called the “Lion of Judah,” which “jealously guards a pathetic pile of bodies, pointing to both the Holocaust and the creation of the State of Israel in May 1948.” Although the lion, the “timeless image of the protector of the Jewish people,” is ferocious and fire-breathing, McBee observed, Shahn interpreted it as “emaciated, ribs exposed even as there are so few survivors left to guard.” Like the thin cows in Pharaoh’s dream, this lion seems to be suffering from a supernatural malnourishment.