If I Were a Great Artist…

” I’m afraid of those who look for trends between the lines and who want to see me as liberal or a conservative. I am not a liberal, not a conservative, not a progressive, not a monk, not (…). I would like to be a free artist and – only, and I regret that God has not given me the strength to be him. I  hate lies and violence in all their forms, and the secretaries of consistories are just as repugnant to me as Hotovitch with Hradovsky. Hypocrisy, stupidity and arbitrariness are predominant not only in merchant houses and in slammers; I see them in science, literature, among young people… That is why I equally have particular addiction neither  to the gendarmes, or to butchers, or scientists, or writers, nor to the youth. A company and label I treat as prejudice. My holy of holies is the human body, health, intellect, talent, inspiration, love and total freedom, freedom from force and lies, regardless of the method in which the last two are expressed. It is the program which I would obey if I were a great artist.”
Letter of Anton Chekhov to A. N. Pleshtcheyev (Moscow, October 4, 1888)


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