In the short story called The Portrait, Gogol describes Russian society.The Russian society has its affect on certain people and individuals changing the course of their lives.Gogol focuses on artist in Russia and how they develop their artistic talent.Good art by artist will always be corrupted if Russian society influences artist to focus on outer appearances.
In the story, there is a comparison between good and bad art.Bad art is full of deceit.Chartkov's professor in The Portrait warns Chartkov to not, "become a fashionable artist."(p.100)Fashionable art is bad art made up of bright colors, impatience, quick work, set upon money, and does not generate emotions.A fashionable artist focuses on what Russian society wants.Russian society fathoms over superficial things such as wealth, status, and how people look.All of these qualities are outer appearances and always deceitful.There is always an evil feeling in outer appearances because they are set upon lies.The feelings of artists, who are influenced by society and superficial needs, can be reflected in what is seen on canvas.The art painted by the father of artist B for the church was done in envious competition against his student.He wanted to keep his status in society higher than that of his student's.Artist B's father's painting was denied by the priests because of the evil feeling in the art.The evil purpose and desire to raise his own status brought out this evil feeling, because that is how artist B's father felt at the time he painted the portrait..
Works of art are good according to the story if the art is well thought out, time-consuming, and great at expressing positive emotions.When a work of art covers people with good, pure emotions of how the artists are feeling, it is considered good art. Good qualities and talent were developing in the art Chartkov painted before his art was