Part 5, Chapter 10 Summary
Mihailov is working when the cards of Golenishtchev and Count Vronsky are delivered to him. That morning he had been working on his most famous picture, but when he arrived home he flew into a rage at his wife because she had not been able to deter the landlady who wanted the money they owed her. His wife, of course, blamed him for not letting them get so far behind on the rent, and Mihailov ends the argument by screaming at her to leave him in peace. He stalks off to his workroom and works with special fervor on a sketch he had begun.
Mihailov always did some of his best work after quarreling with his wife, and now he is making a sketch of a man in a violent rage. It is similar to a drawing he had made before, but he is dissatisfied with it and wonders where the other sketch is. He manages to find the discarded piece of paper which is now dirty and spotted with candle grease. Nevertheless, Mihailov believes this sketch is better and places it on the table and tries to get some perspective on the drawing.
All at once he makes an exclamation and begins to draw rapidly. The spot of tallow has given the man a new pose, and Mihailov is inspired and invigorated by what he sees. Soon he recalls the face of a shopkeeper from whom he once bought cigars. It is a vigorous face, and Mihailov sketches it now, laughing with delight at his finished work. From a lifeless thing, this sketch has turned into a living being. It is then that Mihailov receives the cards of his visitors and says he will be with them in a moment. Mihailov affectionately teases his wife out of her ill humor before putting on his artist’s overcoat and hat and going to his studio. He has already forgotten his delight in the figure he drew and is excited at the prospect of a visit with these Russian men of consequence.
His masterpiece makes Mihailov think one thing: that no one has ever painted anything like it. While he does not believe his work is better than that of the great Masters, Mihailov is...
(The entire section is 550 words.)