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Repin's painting “The Self-immolation of Gogol” was painted by the great artist in 1909. The canvas caused a lot of criticism, since many considered this image of Gogol to be incorrect and even a mockery of the famous mind of the writer. But the title had nothing to do with the speculation of the critics, and the plot itself had no picture.
The artist depicts two people in the picture: a man tormented by mental and apparently physical torments, who is reclining, spread out on an armchair by the fireplace and his doctor, or a servant. The face of the first character in the picture is disfigured by excruciating pain, but his eyes glow with the hope that the flame devouring it from the inside will become cleansing and lead to the gates of Paradise.
The figure of a person asks the Lord for permission to stop the suffering that has befallen him and to take it to him. His clothes are wrinkled, his shirt collar is torn, he holds pieces of paper in his hand - this is Gogol himself, and most likely this is the very manuscript of the second part of Dead Souls, which was burned by the writer because it seemed insufficiently meaningful and successful.
The second person, who is in the room, is located according to Repin’s idea in the shade, he tries to alleviate the suffering of the patient, which is easy to notice by the way he carefully and even reverently takes his hand.
The doctor or servant persuades Gogol to go to bed, lit by the light of the moon and the fireplace, but the patient refuses, he no longer needs this burning fireplace, nor snow-white sheets, nor the doctor, he is ready to meet the Savior and looks up so as not to miss this moment meeting.
The artist forces the viewer to seek out and look out for something that excited Gogol, plays in the shadows, drawing a fireplace, a luxurious chair on which the patient’s body, the second character rests, a bed and even two windows, with the help of which it makes the room even darker.
The picture is full of sorrow and suffering, but, nevertheless, it is majestic and beautiful, how beautiful the determination itself is to renounce all worldly vanity and go towards something larger, the invisible eye of a simple person.
Monet the Frog