The article deals with the image of Leo Tolstoy which was created in historical memory of Russian people. Not only the personality of the great Russian writer, but the memory about him which lives in the minds of art people and has been reflected in art, sculpture, connected with Leo Tolstoy and his creative work, polysemantics of different interpretations and completion of the image on behalf of readers and viewers is the subject of an analysis. The image of Tolstoy and his creative work is considered and the ways they reflect collective identity of society which changes in different historic epoch and its influence on it. Three artists of the era of Russian realism of the second half of the XIX century create portraits of the great writer, which became, in fact, his iconography: I.E. Repin, N.N. Ge and I.N. Kramskoy. Personality of L.N. Tolstoy appears in portraits not only as an outstanding contemporary of artists, but also as a quintessence of the aesthetic system of realism: «beautiful is life itself». Therefore, the image of L.N. Tolstoy is laid in the cultural memory also as part of the discourse of man of the age of realism. Artists who created the image of L.N. Tolstoy, thus, turned out to be the creators of the cultural hero, the visual symbol of national culture. But all three discussed artists appeared to be «captured» by their own «demons»: the understanding of the role and purpose of art and the influence on them of the doctrine by L.N. Tolstoy. As a result, the national hero is endowed with subjective traits of artistic reflection of the authors. And with these subjective features, he goes on a further «journey» through cultural memory, synthesizing the stereotypical and individual, thereby distancing the symbol from reality.

About the authors

A. E. Purygin

Samara National Research University

Author for correspondence.
Email: morenov@ssau.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7045-4310


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