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Anna Karenina 272

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Anna Karenina

War And Peace

the fidelity of the expression of Pilate as an official, and offensive as might have seemed the utterance of so unimportant an observation while nothing was said of more serious points, Mihailov was in an ecstasy of delight at this observation. He had himself thought about Pilates figure just what Golenishtchev said. The fact that this reflection was but one of millions of reflections, which as Mihailov knew for certain would be true, did not diminish for him the significance of Golenishtchevs remark. His heart warmed to Golenishtchev for this remark, and from a state of depression he suddenly passed to ecstasy. At once the whole of his picture lived before him in all the indescribable complexity of everything living. Mihailov again tried to say that that was how he understood Pilate, but his lips quivered intractably, and he could not pronounce the words. Vronsky and Anna too said something in that subdued voice in which, partly to avoid hurting the artists feelings and partly to avoid saying out loud something silly--so easily said when talking of art--people usually speak at exhibitions of pictures. Mihailov fancied that the picture had made an impression on them too. He went up to them. "How marvelous Christs expression is!" said Anna. Of all she saw she liked that expression most of all, and she felt that it was the center of the picture, and so praise of it would be pleasant to the artist. "One can see that He is pitying Pilate." This again was one of the million true reflections that could be found in his picture and in the figure of Christ. She said that He was pitying Pilate. In Christs expression there ought to be indeed an expression of pity, since there is an expression of love, of heavenly peace, of readiness for death, and a sense of the vanity of words. Of course there is the expression of an official in Pilate and of pity in Christ, seeing that one is the incarnation of the fleshly and the other of the spiritual life. All this and much more flashed into Mihailovs thoughts. "Yes, and how that figure is done--what atmosphere! One can walk round it," said Golenishtchev, unmistakably betraying by this remark that he did not approve of the meaning and idea of the figure. "Yes, theres a wonderful mastery!" said Vronsky. "How those figures in the background stand out! There you have technique," he said, addressing Golenishtchev, alluding to a conversation between them about Vronskys despair of attaining this technique. "Yes, yes, marvelous!" Golenishtchev and Anna assented. In spite of the excited condition in which he was, the sentence about technique had sent a pang to Mihailovs heart, and looking angrily at Vronsky he suddenly scowled. He had often heard this word technique, and was utterly unable to understand what was understood by it. He knew that by this term was understood a mechanical facility for painting or drawing, entirely apart from its subject. He had noticed often that even in actual praise technique was opposed to essential quality, as though one could paint well something that was bad. He knew that a great deal of attention and care was necessary in taking off the coverings, to avoid injuring the creation itself, and to take off all the coverings; but there was no art of painting--no technique of any sort--about it. If to a little child or to his cook were revealed what he saw, it or she would have been able to peel the wrappings off what was seen. And the most experienced and adroit painter could not by mere mechanical facility paint anything if the lines of the subject were not revealed to him first. Besides, he saw that if it came to talking about technique, it was impossible to praise him for it. In all he had painted and repainted he saw faults that hurt his eyes, coming from want of care in taking off the wrappings--faults he could not correct now without spoiling the whole. And in almost all the figures and faces he saw, too, remnants of the wrappings not perfectly removed that spoiled the picture. "One thing might be said, if you will allow me to make the remark..." observed Golenishtchev. "Oh, I shall be delighted, I beg you," said Mihailov with a forced smile. "That is, that you make Him the man-god, and not the God-man. But I know that was what you meant to do." "I cannot

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