The short story of N. V. Gogol “The Portrait” is built on the opposition of art and craft concepts to each other. Many Gogolists noted this in their works. The opposition of these two concepts arises from the beginning. Pictures in the shop, where Tchartkoff accidentally wandered, cause admiration of the people and the artist’s perplexity. He sincerely does not understand what exactly attracts the people in these simple pictures, in which everything is caricatured, implausible, deliberate, unfeeling.
The protagonist mentally named them, “simple dullness, steady-going incapacity, which stood, through self-will, in the ranks of art” The Portrait. With his artist instinct, Tchartkoff snatches from the all portraiture truly tableaus — it is no coincidence that he stops in front of the portrait of the old man and freezes. Still not suspecting that, in front of him is not quite an ordinary work, Tchartkoff feels the power of the brush of the artist who painted the portrait. The nature of these pictures differs, the nature of the inspiration itself, by the will of which they were created.Order now
Creativity (pictorial, musical, architectural, literary) — is a kind of attempt to overcome disharmony, arising as a result of internal contradictions of a person or rejection of the surrounding reality. When creating a work, an author transforms his tormenting doubts in artistic images, engaged in a dialogue with himself and the addressee. Art is designed to harmonize the human soul (an author and a probable reader) and its surrounding reality, that is why true works of art are always perfect and harmonious in the unity of all their structural elements.
This is the main difference from graphomaniac experiments in the literary, from music, satisfies the unpretentious requests of the masses, paintings created by order — from what is now called popular culture, pop, kitsch. Art — the creative impulse of the soul; craft — a means of earning. Art is alive by nature; craft, outwardly pretended by creativity, — dead. The creator by nature, Tchartkoff catches exactly this difference. But to feel, understand creativity, be talented and serve the arts — not the same thing. Tchartkoff loses his remarkable abilities in pursuit of fashion, money, fame.
As soon as life gets confronted him with a choice of art or craft, he chooses the second. The sparkle of his talent gradually fades away. At the end of the first part of the story we are faced with an angry man, who understands that he has exchanged his talent for a luxurious life and honors, in which, to his regret, a talent couldn’t be developed — too much distracting vanity. Also, wealth and fame provide comfort, dull the senses, exacerbated in difficult situations. The ability of delicate sensibilities and awareness of the imperfection of reality causes disharmony to some extent necessary for the creative process.
Tchartkoff can not resist the temptation and buys himself a fame and glory for money, which dropped out from under the frame of a mysterious portrait. At the first time, his gift of the artist still makes itself felt: Tchartkoff tries not only to fulfill orders, but to create — he enjoys working, with a dying breath he catches the shades, does not notice how time is running. However, the lady who ordered the portrait does not want to see what it really is, she wants her daughter to be different, not the same as in life: without slightly yellowish skin, without a faintly visible blue under her eyes, without dark spots on her face.
In other words, the customer wishes her daughter to become “an absolute,” perfection. But the external perfection is cold and dead, it does not become alive, life-giving. It does not become art. Tchartkoff tries to resist, seeks to give the portrait more similarity with the original, But not so much to remain faithful to his calling, as “lest any one should accuse him of actual barefaced flattery. ” The Portrait. At this moment, when he is working on the first custom order, Tchartkoff seems to be at a crossroads.
Being, like the hero of “The Queen of Spades,” at the crossroads, Tchartkoff chooses one of the two possible ways. A quick success does not bring him happiness, it is a mirage, an illusion that crumbles to dust when compared to real art. Sent from Italy, the work by one of Tchartkoff’s friends of youth strikes not only him, but also all without exception: When Tchartkoff entered the room, he found a crowd of visitors already collected before the picture. The most profound silence, such as rarely settles upon a throng of critics, reigned over all.
The Portrait. All those years, while Tchartkoff was indulging in glory and spending money, his friend worked hard, “There he buried himself in his work from which he permitted nothing to entice him. ” The Portrait. The only way, detached from the world’s distractions, not chasing the imaginary values, not paying attention to the society, you can create a real masterpiece. It is significant that in the story there is no the surname, nor the first name of the artist, whose creation so affected the audience.
It is no coincidence that this character remains anonymous, his name — Artist, Master, Creator. A true artist does not pursue for the crowd recognition, masterpieces are not created for fun idle public. The process of creating a work of art — the impossibility of “being silent,” not expressing. Goethe said that if he had not written a novel “The Sorrows of Young Werther”, he could not to move on. A craftsman, even having learned to imitate art, is not able to achieve this goal. The realization of the gap between him and the real artist strikes Tchartkoff.
No matter how the hero who has sold his gift tries to say something, “everyday expression; strove to utter some such commonplace remark” The Portrait, he can not remain indifferent, “tears and sobs burst forth uncontrollably, and he rushed from the room like one beside himself” The Portrait. What happens with Tchartkoff, resembles Stendhal’s syndrome (in Stendhal’s syndrome, a person struck by a work of art, extremely acutely perceives all emotions, as if being transferred to the image space; reactions of victims of the syndrome are different, up to hysteria or attempts to destroy the picture).
At first, he cannot restrain sobbing, then begins: to purchase the best that art produced of every kind. Having bought a picture at a great price, he transported it to his room, flung himself upon it with the ferocity of a tiger, cut it, tore it, chopped it into bits, and stamped upon it with a grin of delight. The Portrait. However, such a reaction is caused not so much admiration as envy, an understanding that he never wrote in this way, does not create such a beautiful, purest, harmonious work. He tries to regain lost talent, again takes up the brush, but the boundary that he passed many years ago firmly separates him from the past.
Tchartkoff for the loss of the gift blames the portrait of old man, acquired by him in a shop many years ago, a portrait that brought him a thousand gold pieces, which laid the foundation for his fame. The strange portrait only gives Tchartkoff the means, the opportunity to become famous. As when he’s receiving money, the young artist faces a choice: live on them for a long time, making only the necessary expenditure, devoting himself to hard work and art, or loudly declare his “talents”, to acquire customers and orders, which means fame and fortune.
Thus, the portrait of the old man is only a formal embodiment of that boundary, after which there is no longer a way back for Tchartkoff. Indeed, the tendency to paint “portraits” and to flaunt was at Tchartkoff long before he acquired a strange portrait. Not for nothing, the professor warned him, “Have a care! society already begins to have its attraction for you: I have seen you with a shiny hat, a foppish neckerchief. . . . ” The Portrait. The professor’s fears were not unfounded — Tchartkoff sometimes was living in a state of despair, and he was ready to give up his vain, as it seemed to him, labor:
Yes, but of what use is it? Studies, sketches, all will be studies, trial-sketches to the end. And who will buy, not even knowing me by name? Who wants drawings from the antique, or the life class, or my unfinished love of a Psyche, or the interior of my room, or the portrait of Nikita, though it is better, to tell the truth, than the portraits by any of the fashionable artists? Why do I worry, and toil like a learner over the alphabet, when I might shine as brightly as the rest, and have money, too, like them? The Portrait.
The creativity of Tchartkoff confirmed the duality of his nature and the doubts of the professor, “At present your colouring begins to assert itself too loudly;” The Portrait. Thus, the portrait of the old man and the devilish force contained in it, were not the cause of Tchartkoff’s refusal of true art, but only a motive, a kind of catalyst for this process. Tchartkoff is contradictory in nature: on the one hand, he has an extraordinary talent, on the other hand, he is not able to withstand all the hardships associated with the persistent achievement of the goal, with following the path of Art.
Tchartkoff’s story is only the first part of the story, from which we learn almost nothing about the portrait itself, acquired by a young artist. We do not know who is depicted in the portrait, how the portrait ends up in the shop, where Tchartkoff wandered, when and by whom it was painted. The only thing that can be said, — that the portrait was painted by a true Artist: “Dusty and defaced as the portrait was, Tchartkoff saw, when he had succeeded in removing the dirt from the face, traces of the work of a great artist. The portrait appeared to be unfinished, but the power of the handling was striking.
The Portrait. One thing surprises: the portrait is also a work of art, why there is no desire in it, an inner predisposition to harmony, why does it provoke envy, anger, destruction? The picture is unusual, strange, “They (the eyes) fairly gazed out of the portrait, destroying its harmony with their strange liveliness. ” The Portrait. There is no harmony in the portrait, although it is written by a talented artist. But the master who created it, says: “I will only say that I painted him with repugnance: I felt no liking for my work, even at the time.
I tried to force myself, and, stifling every emotion in a hard-hearted way, to be true to nature. ” The Portrait. The portrait depicts a gombeen-man (this, as well as the history of the creation of the portrait, is told in the second part of the story), possessing a strange dark force, “That’s how I ought to paint the Devil! ” The Portrait — the artist thinks about the old man. The devil’s power, enclosed in a portrait frame, destroys the harmony of the picture. The work of art stops being great, the portrait becomes only a window through which the forces of evil can find one’s way into the world.
The portrait of a gombeen-man destroys not only its own harmony, harmony of one picture, but it seems to rebel against art in general: in the first part of the story it tells us the story of the ruined talent of Tchartkoff, in the second — the story of the creator of the portrait, his struggle with the devil’s power, which enslaved his will and talent: working on a picture for the church, “he had bestowed the usurer’s eyes upon all the figures. ” The Portrait. The impure force takes possession of the artist’s soul, he can not get rid of its influence.
The devilish force in “The Portrait” is not naughty — it desperately and gloomily tries to destroy the Artist, prevent to bring harmony to the world that came out under his brush. For a while, genius and art are enslaved by the devil’s power. However, the true art and the desire for harmony in it are still stronger. True to his vocation, the artist moves away from the worldly vanity, lives as an ascetic, at last reached enlightenment, creates a wonderful picture: “At the end of the year the picture was ready. It was a really wonderful work.
Neither prior nor brethren knew much about painting; but all were struck with the marvellous holiness of the figures. ” The Portrait. Thus, a true artist, true to his vocation and path can be broken for a while by the evil spirit, but to overcome — never. The novel “The Portrait” by Nikolay Gogol — the story of two artists which have been tested by the diabolical temptation: Tchartkoff by glory and money, the creator of the portrait by the ability to portray “the spirit of darkness. ” One of them remains true to himself and serves the arts, the other — loses his talent, and then himself.
You have talent: talent is the most priceless of God’s gifts” The Portrait, а “An intimation of God’s heavenly paradise is contained for the artist in art” The Portrait, therefore art is above all, stronger than the devil’s power. It does not tolerate a fussy chase of fame, money, success, it requires hard work and dilution of the master in his work, full immersion in creativity. Art gives strength to resist destruction and evil, to withstand the devil’s temptation. It helps to preserve or restore harmony in the soul of the creator and people.