Leo Tolstoy was an amazing person and caused delight and inspiration from his readers. Among the latter was the artist Nikolai Nikolayevich Ge. In 1884, Ge will paint a portrait of the writer in his house in Khamovniki. During the creative process, the writer and the artist become closer and find a lot in common with respect to the moral character of society.
To my great surprise, but this portrait was not received in the best way. Many complained about the failure of the chosen angle - the head of the writer is lowered, and his face is completely invisible. However, Nikolai Nikolayevich himself was pleased with the result of his labors and noted that he was able to grasp the most important quality of L. Tolstoy, namely the ability to work hard, hard. It is worth noting the harmony of the creative process, because the writer really did not like to pose. However, Ge built up work in complete unity with the then-ongoing work of Leo Tolstoy on the treatise "What is my faith?" The master often came to visit the Tolstoy’s house, spent hours talking with the writer and, at times, just watching him.
In the portrait, the writer is captured in his office, in the usual working environment. Everything around is natural, simple. But thanks to everyday life and external artlessness, all the attention of the audience is directed to the writer. By all means, Ge sought to reflect the power and genius of the writer’s mind, the deep and thoughtful process of his work. The philosopher and thinker bent over the manuscript and, it seems, you can hear the pen creaking, carefully displaying immortal lines on paper.
The poverty of colors does not detract from the picturesque portraiture, the light pouring from the side gently flows from a cold shade to a warm one. Again, the neutrality of the background does not distract from the face of the writer, which is captured in a new, unconventional manner for the psychological portrait of the time. Tolstoy's gaze is not directed at the viewer; he is turned to the article. The writer is immersed in the process with his head, forgetting about reality. In this dedication and complete surrender, Ge saw a special form of manifestation of heroism. That is what he endures, and emphasizes in the first place. In the portrait of the artist Leo Tolstoy is a great hard worker and teacher of life.
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