The main theme of the article is the biography of a cultural figure. The subject of the article is the image of A.N. Ostrovsky. The purpose of the article is to show significant issues in the biography of A.N. Ostrovsky against the background of his time. For this purpose author uses historical facts, testimonies of contemporaries, epistolary, memoir. The main methods are historical and biographical, analytical, comparative. The introductory part describes A.N. Ostrovsky’s suggested image. Further, the author of the article reveals substantive aspects in A.N. Ostrovsky’s view on the merchant world. The playwright was the first person in dramatic art to see in the merchants the basis of the future cultural and economic development of Russia. At the same time, the article reveals turmoils of the merchants’ world vision. In order to make the portrait of A.N. Ostrovsky versatile and objective, testimonies of contemporaries are used: from a circle of acquaintances (P.I. Tchaikovsky, V.G. Perov, L.A. Bernstam) and close friends (A.A. Grigoryev, F.V. Burdin, M.N. Ostrovsky). The portrait of the Russian classic A.N. Ostrovsky, who was in the focus of various assessments, presents him as an ambiguous, sometimes contradictory, but always highly talented person. The discussion part highlights possible aspects for the discussion: time and analysis of the playwright's works concerning his biography. The final observations emphasize that in the article the portrait of A.N. Ostrovsky is given only in strokes. The article shows well-known facts and at the same time creates new points of discussion. As a result, A.N. Ostrovsky appears both as a thinker who managed to see the essence of socio-cultural processes, and as a person in his purely personal biography.
Russian culture of the mid 19 th century; portrait; A.N. Ostrovsky; merchant world; testimonies of contemporaries.