Ivan Aivazovsky


American Shipping off the Rock of Gibraltar. Ivan Aivazovsky [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As mentioned last week, I have recently found myself rather absorbed in looking at old paintings. The work of Russian painters is, it turns out, some of my favourite work, and one of the artists in particular—Ivan Aivazovsky—really impressed me with his skill.

Aivasovsky Ivan Constantinovich storm 1886 IBI

Storm. Ivan Aivazovsky [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Of course, Aivazovsky’s favourite subject matter, the sea, does not hurt—I like to think that my grandfather being a Navy man and lifelong boater is part of the reason for my predilection toward such works, and I did spend much of last fall and winter zipping through C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower series (which is very good reading). I do think that artwork featuring the sea always fascinates, though, because it’s always moving, always alive and awake, even beneath a seemingly still surface. Moreover, the power of the sea is undeniable, something mankind has long taken advantage of but will never be able to bridle.

Perhaps we need to be reminded of our own tininess, and that is why we find ourselves drawn to such works?

Айвазовский И.К. Волна

Волна. Ivan Aivazovsky [Public domain or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Regardless, to my eyes, Aivazovsky’s painting of the sea remain very, very much among the best of the genre.

Hovhannes Aivazovsky - The Ninth Wave - Google Art Project.jpg

The Ninth Wave, Aivazovksy’s most famous work.
“Hovhannes Aivazovsky – The Ninth Wave – Google Art Project” by Hovhannes Aivazovsky (1817 – 1900) (Russian) (Painter, Details of artist on Google Art Project) – jgHuL-7yxgrOSw at Google Cultural Institute, zoom level maximum. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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