Marie Konstantinowna Bashkirtseff ~ Imagination
"If we look closely, most things in this world are the results of imagination."

Maria Konstantinowna Bashkirtseff (1858-1884)

The Umbrella
State Russian Museum (St. Petersburg, Russian Federation)

Young Woman with Lilacs
Tolstoy ~ Men Are Like Rivers…
“One of the most widespread superstitions is that every man has his own special, definite qualities; that a man is kind, cruel, wise, stupid, energetic, apathetic, etc.
Men are not like that . . . Men are like rivers; the water is the same in each, and alike in all; but every river is narrow here, is more rapid there, here slower, there broader, now clear, now cold, now dull, now warm. It is the same with men. Every man carries in himself the germs of every human quality and sometimes one manifests itself, sometimes another, and the man often becomes unlike himself—while still remaining the same man.”
― Leo Tolstoy

Only known color photograph of the writer, taken at his Yasnaya Polyana estate in 1908 by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Anna Akhmatova
You will hear thunder and remember me,
And think: she wanted storms. The rim
Of the sky will be the colour of hard crimson,
And your heart, as it was then, will be on fire.”
― Anna Akhmatova, The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova
Ivan Kramskoy – Russian Painter Of Real Life
Ivan Kramskoy
Portrait of the Philosopher Vladimir Solovyov, 1885
"The meaning and worth of love, as a feeling, is that it really forces us, with all our being, to acknowledge for ANOTHER the same absolute central significance which, because of the power of our egoism, we are conscious of only in our own selves. Love is important not as one of our feelings, but as the transfer of all our interest in life from ourselves to another, as the shifting of the very centre of our personal life. This is characteristic of every kind of love, but predominantly of sexual love; it is distinguished from other kinds of love by greater intensity, by a more engrossing character, and by the possibility of a more complete overall reciprocity. Only this love can lead to the real and indissoluble union of two lives into one; only of it do the words of Holy Writ say: 'They shall be one flesh,' i.e., shall become one real being.”
― Vladimir S. Solovyov, The Meaning of Love
Sylvia Plath – Loneliness
“God, but life is loneliness, despite all the opiates, despite the shrill tinsel gaiety of "parties" with no purpose, despite the false grinning faces we all wear. And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter - they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long. Yes, there is joy, fulfillment and companionship - but the loneliness of the soul in its appalling self-consciousness is horrible and overpowering.”

― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Viktor Elpidiforovich Borisov-Musatov - 1905
Grigory Gluckmann ~ The Dressing Room
A painting I love!
Grigory Gluckmann, (Russia, 1898-1973)
The Dressing Room
Anna Akhmatova ~ Waking Dreams
Forgive me, that I manage badly,
Manage badly but live gloriously,
That I leave traces of myself in my songs,
That I appeared to you in waking dreams.”
― Anna Akhmatova, The Complete Poems

Anna Akhmatova. Slepnevo.1914
Anna Akhmatova ~ In The Evening
The garden rang with music
Of inexpressible despair.
A dish of oysters spread on ice
Smelled like the ocean, fresh and sharp.
He told me: "I'm a faithful friend!"-
And lightly touched my dress.
How different from embraces
The touch of those two hands.
That's how one strokes a cat or bird
Or looks at slender lady riders...
Just laughter in his quiet eyes,
Beneath his light gold lashes.
And the despondent voices of the violins
Sing out beyond the hanging smoke:
"Give blessings to heaven above
At last you're alone with your beloved."
March 1913
Anton Chekhov ~ On Life
"There will come a time when everybody will know why, for what purpose, there is all this suffering, and there will be no more mysteries. But now we must live."
—Anton Chekhov, The Three Sisters
Ivan Turgenev ~ Games Of The Mind
“Moreover, probably owing to excessive self-consciousness, perhaps as the result of the generally unfortunate cast of my personality, there existed between my thoughts and feelings, and the expression of those feelings and thoughts, a sort of inexplicable, irrational, and utterly insuperable barrier; and whenever I made up my mind to overcome this obstacle by force, to break down this barrier, my gestures, the expression of my face, my whole being, took on an appearance of painful constraint. I not only seemed, I positively became unnatural and affected. I was conscious of this myself, and hastened to shrink back into myself. Then a terrible commotion was set up within me. I analysed myself to the last thread, compared myself with others, recalled the slightest glances, smiles, words of the people to whom I had tried to open myself out, put the worst construction on everything, laughed vindictively at my own pretensions to 'be like every one else,'—and suddenly, in the midst of my laughter, collapsed utterly into gloom, sank into absurd dejection, and then began again as before—went round and round, in fact, like a squirrel on its wheel. Whole days were spent in this harassing, fruitless exercise.”
― Ivan Turgenev, Diary of a Superfluous Man