Ivan Constantinovich Aivazovsky, The shipwrecked.
Sign.1887. Oil 60x96 cm.
Wear due to age and use. Minor wear. Crazing. Later restorations.
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Estate of a finnish private collector.
"Merimaisemia kautta aikojen", Galleria Uusikuva, Kotka, Finland, 22.5.-11.8.2002.
The greatest achievements of Russian naval painting are associated above all with Ivan Aivazovsky (1817-1900), who laid the foundations of Russian naval painting. He became a model for several other prominent Russian artists who focused on depicting seascapes.
Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky, christened Hovhannes Aivazian, was born in 1817 into a poor Armenian family in the small coastal town of Feodosia in the Crimea. He began his art studies at the St Petersburg Academy of Arts in 1833, where his teachers, especially the Frenchman Philippe Tanneur (1795-1878), greatly influenced his interest in marine painting. During his time in St Petersburg, Aivavzovsky mixed with many well-known cultural figures, which influenced his outlook on life and laid the foundations for an independent and original way of thinking. On graduating from the Academy of Arts in 1837, he was awarded the Academy's honorary prize, a gold medal, which allowed him to continue his studies abroad.
Even Aivazovsky's first paintings, exhibited in the late 1830s, attracted great attention for their technical brilliance, their accurate representation of nature and the enthusiasm that permeated his work. He was fascinated by the sea, its powerful, uncontrollable natural forces and constant change. Brilliant colors and strong tones in Aivazovsky's paintings testify to his devotion to the ideals of Romanticism.
During the 1840s Aivazovsky travelled extensively in Russia, Europe and America. During his travels, he painted frequently, and thanks to his personality, which was characterized by a positive attitude to life, drive and warm humanity, he was able to make contacts easily. In 1848 he returned to his hometown of Feodosia, where he lived for the rest of his life.
In 1865 Aivazovsky became a professor and later a member of the St Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts, and during the same period he was made an honorary member of the Paris, Amsterdam, Rome and Stuttgart Academies of Fine Arts for his great achievements in painting.
Aivazovsky organized over 120 exhibitions of his paintings both in Russia and in Europe, the proceeds of which went to charities such as poor artists, actors, students and families in Armenia who lived in scarce conditions. In 1865 he founded an art school at his studio in Feodosia, where talented young artists could study under his guidance. Fifteen years later he also opened an art gallery in his studio, which became a cultural centre and already during Aivazovsky's lifetime concerts and theatre evenings with Anton Rubinstein, among others, were organized there.
Aivazovsky led an ambitious and active life and his career as an artist spanned almost 65 years. A large part of his output consists of sea scenes, but he also painted cityscapes from Moscow, St Petersburg and Odessa, as well as landscapes from Ukraine and the Caucasus, among other places. From the 1870s he began to be influenced by the new democratic trends in art, and the Romantic features were somewhat muted in his output. He began to depict reality in a more realistic manner, and superficial effects and brilliant coloring were replaced by calmer and softer tones.
The painting "The shipwrecked" from 1887, now for sale, is a representative example of the above-mentioned development of the artist. Restrained tension and epic power characterize his works from this period and the expression is relatively austere and simple without losing its characteristic magnificence. The dialogue between him and the sea, freedom and the symbol of independence is a common thread throughout Aivazovsky's output. The sea, sometimes calm, sometimes raging and stormy, was for him an inexhaustible source of impression and inspiration.
A technical examination, incl. Infra red reflection photograph, of the work has been executed.
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