Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy known as Leo Tolstoy is widely recognized as one of the greatest and most significant authors in history. Writing countless plays, essays and short stories, Tolstoy famously penned War and Peace and Anna Karinena along with over twenty other novels. In his forties, Tolstoy experienced a spiritual awakening which influenced his views as a Christian anarchist, pacifist and advocate of Georgism. Leo’s views on nonviolent resistance and the resulting Tolstoyan movement spread widely and his works were profoundly influential to Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar Chavez. Tolstoy’s views on nonviolence extended all the way to his diet and he became an very early and prominent advocate for vegetarianism and veganism. Tolstoy continued to write and spread his message of nonviolence up until his death at the age of 82.
Illustration by Anne Di Lillo
Tolstoy’s portrait is based off of Khokhloma painting, a traditional Russian folk art. Each of the eight radiating arms of the circle tells his progression from a freewheeling young man in the military to a reserved and quiet peace advocate, with novels and writing instruments set in between. Flower motifs are at the heart of Khokhloma, and here surround the young and old profiles of Tolstoy, nodding to his retreat into nature as he aged. At the center of the image, 8 hands extend flowers – a simple offering of peace.
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