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Paintings by Ivan Aivazovsky

Ivan Aivazovsky oil paintings

This highly reputed painter of Armenian parentage grew up steeped in abject poverty forcing him to work in the cosmopolitan coffee shops in his native town. This gave him an opportunity to hear several languages being spoken and see many cultural habits along with the chatter and batter of his work place. Right from his early childhood he had a great fondness for music. Later on he acquired a violin and played folk melodies. Drawing was his pet subject and he drew images with charcoal on the whitewashed walls of buildings. With the assistance of the authorities he managed admission in the St Petersburg Academy, where he specialized in marine landscape painting. Out of the five important paintings he produced , the gold medal was awarded to two of them, ‘Gulf of Finland’ and ‘The Great road at Kronstadt’ in 1836 in the Exhibition of the Academy. During his training in Crimea he painted the sea and coastal scenes of Crimea in his genre. Russian art then was dominated completely by Romanticism. His works imbibed romanticism and he painted shipwrecks, sea battles and storms. Though Classicism existed inside the Academy it was along with Romanticism. In the first half of the 19th century Romanticism and Realism were prevailing there and Aivazovsky was deeply influenced by the “The Last Day of Pompeii” of Karl Bruillov.

Landscape was in realistic art form. Aivazovsky had evolved his own genre of Realism though he clung to Romanticism. He studied also in Rome, Germany, France, Spain and Holland. His most outstanding works were: “The Bay of Naples by Moonlight” in 1842; “Seashore Calm” in 1843; and “Malta Valetto Harbor” in 1844. His “Chaos”, considered to be a miracle of artistry was bought by the Pope to display in the Vatican. British landscape and marine painter Turner eulogized Aivazovsky after being highly impressed by “The Bay of Naples in Moonlit Night”.