Hovhannes (Ivan) Aivazovsky (1817-1900)

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Ivan Aivazovsky

Ivan Aivazovsky

One of the greatest seascape painters of his time, Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (Aivazovski),originally Aivazian, conveyed the movement of the waves, the transparent water, the dialogue between sea and sky with with virtuoso skill and tangible verisimilitude. The artist also often turned to themes from Armenian and Russian history.

Born in the Crimea (Russia), he graduated from the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts with honors at 20 years of age. He was sent to study in Italy and returned a recognized master. Delacroix spoke of him with great respect and Turner described him as a genius. Always true to his motto, “For me, to live means to work,” Aivazovsky created around 6,000 paintings. His house in his native town was turned into a museum dedicated to his memory even during his lifetime.

The originality of Aivazovsky’s work is largely determined by his national character and temperament. Armenian culture has an ancient tradition of the creative value of light, and the knowledge of light was one of the most important elements in his art, giving the artist’s canvases a dreamy and emotional feel.

The Sea. Koketbel, 1853

The Sea. Koketbel, 1853

Moonlit Night, 1849

Moonlit Night, 1849

Gondolier. Moonlit Night, 1843

Gondolier. Moonlit Night, 1843

Fishermen on the Seashore, 1852

Fishermen on the Seashore, 1852

Chaos. The Creation of the World, 1841

Chaos. The Creation of the World, 1841

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