Revered Poet Alexander Pushkin Draws Sketches of Nikolai Gogol and Other Russian Artists

pushkin sketch of gogol

Ask an Amer­i­can or an Eng­lish­man who the best Russ­ian poet is, and they’ll gen­uine­ly con­sid­er the ques­tion. The same query, when posed to a Russ­ian, invari­ably yields a sin­gle answer: Alexan­der Pushkin. While his rep­u­ta­tion pos­sess­es a cer­tain renown amid some rar­efied lit­er­ary cir­cles in the West, in Rus­sia, Pushkin is wor­shipped: ele­men­tary school stu­dents mem­o­rize his vers­es, and one would be hard pressed to find a per­son igno­rant of Eugene Onegin’s plot.

By exten­sion, Pushkin’s sketch­es — so beloved in Rus­sia that they’ve been com­piled and pub­lished numer­ous times — remain almost unheard of else­where. Above we’ve includ­ed a sim­ple draw­ing that the poet sketched of the great Russ­ian writer, Niko­lai Gogol. In the fol­low­ing image, below, Pushkin depict­ed anoth­er autho­r­i­al con­tem­po­rary: Alek­sander Gri­boe­dov, whose Woe from Wit remains a Russ­ian clas­sic.


Fur­ther down is the poet him­self, all curls and side­burns, in a self-por­trait that dates from some­where between 1827 and 1830.


Pushkin would fre­quent­ly jot down these charm­ing black and white sketch­es both in his per­son­al writ­ings, and in the mar­gins of his man­u­scripts. The final image, a page from Eugene One­gin, is a ter­rif­ic exam­ple of his note­books. Along­side the text, Pushkin includ­ed a sketch of a well-known Russ­ian painter and aris­to­crat, with whom the author was cer­tain­ly acquaint­ed: Count Fyo­dor Petro­vich Tol­stoy (not to be con­fused with the Leo Tol­stoy).


Ilia Blin­d­er­man is a Mon­tre­al-based cul­ture and sci­ence writer. Fol­low him at @iliablinderman, or read more of his writ­ing at the Huff­in­g­ton Post.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The His­toric Meet­ing Between Dick­ens and Dos­to­evsky Revealed as a Great Lit­er­ary Hoax

George Saun­ders’ Lec­tures on the Russ­ian Greats Brought to Life in Stu­dent Sketch­es

Stephen Fry Pro­files Six Russ­ian Writ­ers in the New Doc­u­men­tary Russia’s Open Book

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