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Marine Paintings by Ivan Aivazovsky

"The Ninth Wave" by Ivan Aivazovsky

“The Ninth Wave” by Ivan Aivazovsky

Marine Art Exhibition by Ivan Aivazovsky

Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (1817 – 1900) was a Russian Romantic painter who is considered one of the greatest masters of marine art. Our Marine Art Exhibition includes:

  • “The Ninth Wave” by Ivan Aivazovsky – State Russian Museum
  • “Seascape with a Steamer” by Ivan Aivazovsky – National Museum, Warsaw
  • “Tempest by Sounion” by Ivan Aivazovsky – National Gallery, Athens
  • “Brig Mercury Attacked by Two Turkish Ships” by Ivan Aivazovsky – Aivazovsky National Art Gallery, Feodosia, Crimea

“The Ninth Wave” by Ivan Aivazovsky

“The Ninth Wave” by Ivan Aivazovsky depicts a sea after a night storm and the people facing death attempting to save themselves by clinging to debris from a wrecked ship. The raft, in the shape of the cross, appears to be a Christian metaphor for salvation. The painting’s warm tones symbolize the opportunity for the people on the raft to survive.

The title refers to an old sailing expression referring to a wave of an incredible size that comes after a succession of incrementally more massive waves. Aivazovsky’s painting shows both the destructiveness and beauty of nature.

“The Ninth Wave” by Ivan Aivazovsky

  • Title:                            The Ninth Wave
  • Russian:                      Девятый вал
  • Artist:                          Ivan Aivazovsky – Hovhannes Aivazovsky
  • Created:                     1850
  • Medium:                     Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions:               221 cm × 332 cm (87 in × 131 in)
  • Genre:                        Marine Art
  • Museum:                    Russian Museum

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“Seascape with a Steamer” by Ivan Aivazovsky

"Seascape with a Steamer" by Ivan Aivazovsky

“Seascape with a Steamer” by Ivan Aivazovsky

“Seascape with a Steamer” by Ivan Aivazovsky depicts a dark steamship on a dark horizon, billowing black smoke from its funnel while the white sailing ship is brightly lit up by the sun.

Aivazovsky was one of the most prominent Russian artists of his time. During his almost 60-year career, he created around 6,000 paintings, making him one of the most prolific artists of his time.

A funnel on a ship was used to expel boiler steam, engine exhaust, and smoke. Since the introduction of steam-power to vessels in the 19th century, the funnel has been a distinctive feature of the silhouette of a ship and used for recognition purposes.

A vital part of the deception practiced by ships during conflicts was to disguise their ship’s outline, and this included using false funnels or by changing the height or diameter of the actual funnel.

The vast majority of Aivazovsky works are seascapes. Most of his works are kept in Russian, Ukrainian and Armenian museums as well as private collections. This painting is from the National Museum, Warsaw.

“Seascape with a Steamer” by Ivan Aivazovsky

  • Title:                             Seascape with a Steamer
  • Artist:                           Ivan Aivazovsky – Hovhannes Aivazovsky
  • Created:                       1897
  • Medium:                      Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions:                Height: 37 cm (14.5″); Width: 60 cm (23.6″)
  • Genre:                          Marine Art
  • Museum:                     National Museum, Warsaw

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“Tempest by Sounion” by Ivan Aivazovsky

File-Ivan Aivazovsky - Tempset by Sounion

“Tempest by Sounion” by Ivan Aivazovsky

“Tempest by Sounion” by Ivan Aivazovsky depicts a two-mast sailing ship of the Cape Sounio with the ruins of the Temple of Poseidon just visible in the moonlight. The sailing ship is in jeopardy as the crew has abandoned the ship and can be seen in the rowboat attempting to look for safety.

Cape Sounion is the promontory at the southernmost tip of the Attic peninsula, 70 kilometers (43 miles) southeast of Athens. Cape Sounion is noted for its Temple of Poseidon, one of the significant monuments of the Golden Age of Athens. Its remains are perched on the headland, surrounded on three sides by the sea.

The temple of Poseidon at Sounion was constructed in 444–440 BC. This period was during the ascendancy of the Athenian statesman Pericles, who also rebuilt the Parthenon in Athens. Only some columns of the Sounion Temple stand today.

“Tempest by Sounion” by Ivan Aivazovsky

  • Title:                              Tempest by Sounion
  • Artist:                            Ivan Aivazovsky – Hovhannes Aivazovsky
  • Created:                        1856
  • Medium:                       Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions:                 Height: 59 cm (23.2″); Width: 83 cm (32.6″)
  • Genre:                           Marine Art
  • Museum:                      National Gallery, Athens

~~~

“Brig Mercury Attacked by Two Turkish Ships” by Ivan Aivazovsky

Brig Mercury Attacked by Two Turkish Ships by Ivan Aivazovsky

“Brig Mercury Attacked by Two Turkish Ships” by Ivan Aivazovsky

“Brig Mercury Attacked by Two Turkish Ships” by Ivan Aivazovsky depicts three ships in combat on a rough sea. The battle shows two Turkish warships, and the Russian brig Mercury in the middle as more ships can be seen on the horizon.

The battle was part of the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–1829, it was sparked by the Greeks’ struggle for independence. The Turkish sultan came into conflict with Russia due to its participation in the Battle of Navarino. As a result, Turkey closed the Dardanelles to Russian ships.

The Mercury was a 20-gun brig designed as a patrol ship to guard the Northern Caucasus coast. Built of Crimean oak, with a shallow draught and equipped with oars, she was launched in 1820. Mercury fought in several significant naval battles, and it’s most notable was against a sizable complement of Turkish ships, which were returning from the shores of Anatolia. Turkish victory was at first foreseeable, but the tides of battle changed, and Mercury was able to escape after a final, powerful assault by the three brigs, ended the conflict.

The Greek War of Independence, also known as the Greek Revolution, was a war of independence waged by Greek revolutionaries against the Ottoman Empire between 1821 and 1830. The Greeks were later assisted by the Russian Empire, Great Britain, and the Kingdom of France. At the same time, the Ottomans were aided by Egypt, Algeria, and Tripolitania, and the Beylik of Tunis.

“Brig Mercury Attacked by Two Turkish Ships” by Ivan Aivazovsky

  • Title:                             Brig “Mercury” Attacked by Two Turkish Ships
  • Russian:                       Бриг «Меркурий», атакованный двумя турецкими кораблями
  • Artist:                            Ivan Aivazovsky – Hovhannes Aivazovsky
  • Created:                        1892
  • Medium:                       Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions:                 Height: 212 cm (83.4″); Width: 339 cm (11.1 ft)
  • Genre:                           Marine Art
  • Museum:                      Aivazovsky National Art Gallery

Ivan Aivazovsky

Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (1817 – 1900) was a Russian painter who is considered one of the greatest masters of marine art. Baptized as Hovhannes Aivazian, he was born into an Armenian family in the Black Sea port of Feodosia in Crimea and was mostly based there.

Following his education in Saint Petersburg, Aivazovsky traveled to Europe and returned to Russia to be appointed the principal painter of the Russian Navy. Aivazovsky had close ties with the military and political elite of the Russian Empire and often attended military maneuvers. The saying:

“worthy of Aivazovsky’s brush,”

was popularized by Anton Chekhov, and used in Russia for describing something lovely.

The vast majority of his works are seascapes, but he often depicted battle scenes, Armenian themes, and portraiture. Most of Aivazovsky’s works are kept in Russian, Ukrainian and Armenian museums as well as private collections.

Ivan Aivazovsky

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“The movement of natural elements cannot be captured by the brush: to paint lightning, a gust of wind or the splash of a wave from nature is inconceivable.” 
– Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky

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Photo Credit 1) Russian Museum / Public domain; Ivan Aivazovsky / Public domain

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