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Nikolai Pavlovich Chekhov (Russian: Николай Павлович Чехов; May 23, 1858 – June 29, 1889); Russian painter and brother of Anton Chekhov.
...Nikolai was a talented artist, and he often illustrated Anton's stories.... his death influenced Anton's A Boring Story, about a man faced with his own impending death.
...the second son of Pavel and Yevgenia Chekhov. As a child he showed talents for both art and music and was considered the most gifted of the Chekhov children. He was later a student at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, where he associated with some of the most promising young Russian artists of the time. However, he never completed his studies owing to chronic alcoholism and a fatal attraction for the Moscow equivalent of Skid Row, where he would disappear for weeks on end. Nikolai died at 31 of tuberculosis aggravated by alcoholism.
From a letter by Anton Chekhov to his brother Nikolai, March 1886, Moscow:
I know all your good qualities like the back of my hand. I value them highly and have only the greatest of respect for them. If you like I can even prove how well I understand you by enumerating them. In my opinion, you are kind to the point of fault, magnanimous, unselfish, you'd share your last penny, and you're sincere. Hate and envy are foreign to you, you are open-hearted, you are compassionate with man and beast, you are not greedy, you do not bear grudges, and you are trusting. You are gifted from above with something others lack: you have talent. This talent places you above millions of people, for there is only one artist for every two million people on earth. It places you in a very special position: you could be a toad or a tarantula and you would still be respected, because talent is its own excuse.
You have only one failing, the cause of...
From Anton Chekhov's Life and Thought: Selected Letters and Commentary
by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (found on Google Books.) undefined