Page:The life of Tolstoy.djvu/161

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Gay painted Tolstoy sitting at his writing-table. Though his eyes are not visible, the whole figure is so characteristic, and so lovingly and strikingly rendered, that this portrait became very dear to Tolstoy's friends.

In 1887, Russia's greatest painter, Eliah Rèpin, came to Yasnaya Polyana. His picture—Tolstoy ploughing—is wonderful for its deep meaning. Besides the technical and artistic value, it is an emblem of the union of the greatest Russian genius with the Russian people and land. This picture is now one of the most popular in lithographic and photographic copies and post cards; it is, for Russia, one of the epoch-making pictures. The best Russian sculptors also, such as Trubetskoy, Ginsburg, and Aronson, have immortalised Tolstoy in their works.

During Tolstoy's conversation with his numerous visitors on the new conception of Christianity, and on the consequent change in the relation of man to man, he observed that his words were not always convincing to his visitors, chiefly because they differed on the very fundamental principles of life. This led Tolstoy to a systematic explanation of his philosophy in a book called "On Life," published towards the end of the 'eighties.