He had sketched this new pose, when all at once he recalled the
face of a shopkeeper of whom he had bought cigars, a vigorous
face with a prominent chin, and he sketched this very face, this
chin on to the figure of the man. He laughed aloud with delight.
The figure from a lifeless imagined thing had become living, and
such that it could never be changed. That figure lived, and was
clearly and unmistakably defined. The sketch might be corrected
in accordance with the requirements of the figure, the legs,
indeed, could and must be put differently, and the position of
the left hand must be quite altered; the hair too might be thrown
back. But in making these corrections he was not altering the
figure but simply getting rid of what concealed the figure. He
was, as it were, stripping off the wrappings which hindered it
from being distinctly seen. Each new feature only brought out
the whole figure in all its force and vigor, as it had suddenly
come to him from the spot of tallow. He was carefully finishing
the figure when the cards were brought him.
He went in to his wife.
"Come, Sasha, don't be cross!" he said, smiling timidly and
affectionately at her. "You were to blame. I was to blame.
I'll make it all right." And having made peace with his wife he
put on an olive-green overcoat with a velvet collar and a hat,
and went towards his studio. The successful figure he had
already forgotten. Now he was delighted and excited at the visit
of these people of consequence, Russians, who had come in their
Of his picture, the one that stood now on his easel, he had at
the bottom of his heart one conviction--that no one had ever
painted a picture like it. He did not believe that his picture
was better than all the pictures of Raphael, but he knew that
what he tried to convey in that picture, no one ever had
conveyed. This he knew positively, and had known a long while,
ever since he had begun to paint it. But other people's
criticisms, whatever they might be, had yet immense consequence
in his eyes, and they agitated him to the depths of his soul.
Any remark, the most insignificant, that showed that the critic
saw even the tiniest part of what he saw in the picture, agitated
him to the depths of his soul. He always attributed to his
critics a more profound comprehension than he had himself, and
always expected from them something he did not himself see in the
picture. And often in their criticisms he fancied that he had