The Contemplator

 ◊  Saint Anthony Zaccaria, pray for us

Ivan Kramskoy's 'The Meditator' or 'The Contemplator'
The Meditator (or The Contemplator) by Ivan Kramskoy, 1876

In The Brothers Karamazov (Bk 3, Ch 6), Dostoevsky makes reference to the above painting in describing Smerdyakov:

Yet he would sometimes stop in the house, or else in the yard or the street, fall into thought, and stand like that even for ten minutes. A physiognomist, studying him, would have said that his face showed neither thought nor reflection, but just some sort of contemplation. The painter Kramskoy has a remarkable painting entitled The Contemplator: it depicts a forest winter, and in the forest, standing all by himself on the road, in deepest solitude, a stray little peasant in a ragged caftan, and bast shoes; he stands as if he were lost in thought, but he is not thinking, he is “contemplating” something. If you nudged him, he would give a start and look at you as if he had just woken up, but without understanding anything. It’s true that he would come to himself at once, and yet, if he were asked what he had been thinking about while standing there, he would most likely not remember, but would most likely keep hidden away in himself the impression he had been under while contemplating. These impressions are dear to him, and he is most likely storing them up imperceptibly and even without realizing it—why and what for, of course, he does not know either…