Who doesn’t have a photo with a sculpture to Chekhov? Only the one who hasn’t been to Tomsk yet. My friend Marina sent me new photos, and I decided to share them along with my own photos and a story.
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860–1904) was a Russian playwright and short story writer. He wrote “The Lady With the Dog”, “Cherry Orchard”, “The Seagull”, “Uncle Vanya”, “Three sisters”, etc.
A very funny sculpture of him is located on the boardwalk of the Tom River. Not many Tomsk residents know why the statue looks sarcastic. Frankly, when I lived in Tomsk, I didn’t know it myself.
The story is, in spring 1890 Chekhov spent a week in Tomsk on his way to Sakhalin. The rivers had flooded, it was cold and dirty. Chekhov lost his galoshes, and was very unhappy. In a letter to his sister, he wrote, “ Tomsk is a very dull town, to judge from the drunkards whose acquaintance I have made, and from the intellectual people who have come to the hotel to pay respects to me, the inhabitants are very dull too”. Also, he called the men drunks, and women ugly.
In 2004 Tomsk artist Leonty Usov designed a bronze caricature statue of Chekhov which makes him look funny. The text on the pedestal says, “Anton Сhekhov as seen through the eyes of a drunken peasant, lying in a ditch, who has never read (beloved children’s story) “Kashtanka”, so his feet appear unnaturally large.
Tomichi (local residents) instantly fell in love with the sculpture. They consider that touching his nose is good luck, so the statue has a really shiny bronze nose.
I can add that only the laziest and never been to Tomsk people don’t have a photo with Chekhov.
When you come to Tomsk, do not hesitate to visit the sculpture, it’s a lot of fun.