Before us, the famous “Kochegar” Nikolai Aleksandrovich Yaroshenko!
Something made the stoker break away from work. Tired of leaning against the massive grate that encloses the furnace, he fixed his gaze, as if inquiring, towards the viewer, either addressing him with a dumb question, or believing his innermost thoughts. Habitually hunched over and mechanically shifting the poker from the right to the left hand, he gave himself at these occasional moments of rest to his heavy thoughts. He hardly feels now the hot breath of the flame, which is blowing at him from an open firebox.
A deep trace leaves in memory this expressive image… A simple broad face, wrinkled forehead, thick disheveled hair… From under the hairy, woefully raised eyebrows look small inquisitive eyes, and their sharp sight is unforgettable. It is not hatred, not the protest of a person ready to engage in an irreconcilable struggle with his enslavers, we read in this view; These traits will come to Russian art somewhat later. The view of the stoker is full of some kind of silent reproach. Looking at him, like a figure snatched from life, involuntarily ponder over why the life of this man is so hard and bleak, why his warped, worn out hands do not know rest and rest.