It tells the story about young painter Tchartkoff who bought a weird portrait represented an old man. The portrait appeared to be unfinished, but the power of the handling was striking. The eyes were the most remarkable picture of all: it seemed as though the full power of the artist's brush had been lavished upon them. At home Tchartkoff moistened a sponge with water, passed it over the picture several times, washed off nearly all the accumulated and incrusted dust and dirt, hung it on the wall before him, wondering yet more at the remarkable workmanship. The whole face had gained new life, and the eyes gazed at him so that he shuddered; and, springing back, he exclaimed in a voice of surprise: "It looks with human eyes!" This was no copy from Nature; it was life, the strange life which might have lighted up the face of a dead man, risen from the grave... And there was only the beginning of horror that was coming to young painter.