It’s Friday AND it’s Anton Chekhov’s birthday AND we’re in the middle of an endless pandemic so I’m going to rank the following images of young Chekhov according to their hotness. Because I am a serious literary man.
Is that the very first whisper of chin hair on babyface young Anton? I like what he’s going for with the jauntily angled hat but he looks a bit like an eight-year-old inflated to adult size trying to get into a PG-13 matinee.
Here he is with brother Nikolai after… raiding their dad’s closet? Nikolai’s portrait of young Anton (see below) is one of the reasons we now all understand “Young Chekhov” to be “hot.” (You can almost hear him telling Nikolai, “ok but make it hotter” here.)
This screams “first office job out of college” and is objectively not hot.
A few months after realizing office jobs suck, and that there’s no point in trying, we see the first glimmer of Chekhov’s grown-up hotness phase. “I refuse to pose in profile and am going to stare through the camera at you” is a solid “hotness” maneuver.
This sketch by Isaac Levitan captures something of the rougher, broodier side of the otherwise sensitive, young artist we are accustomed to seeing; this is the high school jock reinventing himself freshman year of college by conspicuously reading Alice Munro.
This one is right at the edge of “young,” but it exudes newly divorced, hot dad energy so I’m putting it here.
He’s already decided to quit that office job and is working on a resignation monologue that will definitely include the words “Why would I, hot young Chekhov, even work here?”
“Hi, I am hot, young Chekhov.”
Objectively speaking (or superficially, I guess?) this is not the second hottest image ever of young Chekhov, but the arresting, contemplative, and very candid (in color!) nature of this photograph make it hard to ignore; serious pseudo-intellectual fuckboi energy.
And here it is, the portrait by brother Nikolai that has made the words “young Chekhov” synonymous with the words “hot young Chekhov.”