Ivan Aivazovsky, one of the greatest masters of aquatic painting, was a Russian Romantic artist who flourished between 29 July 1817 to 2 May 1900. His real identity is Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky. He was christened as Hovhannes Aivazian and was generally situated in the Black Sea town of Feodosia in Crimea, where he was born into an Armenian family.
Aivazovsky moved to Europe after getting his degree at the Imperial Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg, and he spent a brief period there during the early 1840s. When he finally returned to Russia, he was given the post of Russian Navy's head painter. Aivazovsky frequently attended training operations and had strong connections to the Russian Empire's military and political elite. He was supported by the state and was well-regarded during his lifetime. In Russia, the epithet "worthy of Aivazovsky's brush," made famous by Anton Chekhov, indicated something attractive. In the 21st century, Russia also offers him a great deal of help.
Aivazovsky, one of the most popular Russian artists of his time, was popular beyond the Russian Empire. He performed a lot of solo performances in the US and Europe. He made almost 6,000 paintings during his 60-year career, establishing him as one of the most accomplished artists of his day. Though he mostly painted seascapes, he still regularly painted lightsaber battles, landscapes, and things about Armenia. Most of Aivazovsky's works are preserved in public and private collections in Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, and Turkey.
Ivan Aivazovsky was born in Theodosia in 1817. Though small, the Black Sea port had endured centuries of world trade. Two hundred ships, based on an Arab visitor from the 14th century. When the town was afflicted by the plague five years before Ivan was born, Konstantin, the father of Ivan, who was an Armenian dealer, lost a significant part of his property. The youngest of three sons, Aivazovsky was given the alias Hovhannes, which represents the Armenian analog of the name Ivan. He was nurtured in the family's humble, one-story, white-washed home on a mountaintop above the dock, where he relished a great view of the water.
Adolescence in the busy port with its many languages and so never fleet of ships and sailors would have offered a permanent reminder of the bigger world. Thus, according to family lore, young Ivan began making paintings on the whitewashed walls with charcoal from a samovar. His talent caught the attention of his father's friend, an architect, whether via these drawings or in a different way. The town's governor, an educated and well-connected man who would open doors for the brilliant young Armenian was exposed to the boy's paintings when he explained his perspective.
Early TrainingThe St. Sargis Armenian Church at Feodosia provided as the young Aivazovsky's religious school. A local architect called Jacob Koch taught him drawing. In 1830, Aivazovsky migrated to Simferopol with the relatives of Taurida Governor Alexander Kaznacheyev and participated in the Russian school there. Aivazovsky arrived in Saint Petersburg, the capital of Russia, in 1833 to participate in Maxim Vorobiev's landscape program at the Imperial Academy of Arts. He got a silver medal and a post as Philippe Tanneur's secretary in France in 1835.
Alexander Pushkin, the national poet in Russia, joined the Academy in September 1836, and it was here that Aivazovsky first met them. Aivazovsky participated in Baltic Fleet training in the Gulf of Finland in 1837 while attending Alexander Sauerweid's battle-painting class. He received a prestigious gold medal for graduation from the Imperial Academy of Arts two years sooner than expected in October 1837. In 1838, Aivazovsky returned to Feodosia while spending two in his native Crimea. He conducted military drills along the Northern coast in 1839, where he was acquainted with Russian admirals Mikhail Lazarev, Pavel Nakhimov, and Vladimir Kornilov.
Aivazovsky decided to join the Imperial Academy of Arts when he returned to Russia in his late 20s and served the academy as an academic. When Alexey Tyranov painted his painting in 1841, he was already more famous than his contemporaries. He was appointed the Russian Navy's senior painter, giving him more freedom to create his particular subjects, sceneries, and coastal and naval combat. After seeing Constantinople, which he glorified as the mystic of his world, in 1845, he proceeded to Theodosia, his birthplace, where he built a beautiful home and studio and gained some renown by presenting a large exhibition of his paintings there in 1846. He joined the Academy in 1847 as a professor of seascape painting and wed Julia Graves, an English governess, with whom he would have four children the following year.
The marriage was not joyous, and the stable lifestyle would not be without obstacles. Aivazovsky painted dramatic naval themes when the Crimean War broke out, and he was once more accompanying the fleet. After the war, he traveled to Paris and painted 25 works, displaying them successfully and making multiple sales. An unusual achievement for a foreign painter, the French Emperor presented him well with the Legion of Honor in acknowledgment of his skills and social standing. Academician Aivazovsky had identified himself as a keystone of the innovative Russian elite and a participant of the European cultural élite.
Aivazovsky kept painting much or successfully until his last exhibition in St. Petersburg in 1900, which occurred close to his demise. During one of these final three decades, his technique was expertly refined. He was a genius at duplicating the skills he had gotten so great at. Aivazovsky presented his painting vision, in which the daily is shrouded by the art of the self-consciously sublime when he transformed the fisherman of Theodosia into Venetian gondoliers to the pleasure of the Empress.
Aivazovsky formed an art school in Theodosia, made important contributions to the area's development, traveled a lot (his 1872 exhibition in Nice drew crowds), and built the first provincial art gallery in Russia. He also got other honors. At the age of 65, he blissfully remarried. He traveled to North America in 1892, where he represented Twenty of his paintings at the Chicago World's Fair. Theodosia was once more decorated with celebration flags for his 80th birthday, and its hotels were overflowing with dignitaries. Soon after, he gave his last seminar at the Academy, a stunning two-hour practical demonstration of his techniques that was greeted with tremendous applause.
Ivan Aivazovsky's Legacy
The "last Romantic" of Russian painting, Aivazovsky served more as a spectacle than a direct impact on later artists. Regarding Slavophile calls for more authentic art, he fell back into a conservative and dreamy vision of Constantinople as an imagined mystical capital for a hybrid European and Eastern identity, of Crimean gipsy encampments as an idealized version of a community, of fishermen dwarfed by the sea and peasants dwarfed by the property. His travels to European capitals had normally located him on the side of the Westernizers in Russia's cultural schism of the late 19. Aivazovsky didn't paint the exterior in plein air; rather, he worked from drawings in his studio. His scenes are never examinations of the subject he was seeing but rather creations of his thoughts and reminiscence. Typically, he did not notice what he painted; instead, he gathered enough knowledge in his sketchbooks to paint what he had visualized. In that reference, Aivazovsky's legacy is minimal, his Romanticism is paper thin, his pathways and intentions are self-indulgent to today's critical taste, his fast turnaround of canvases complies with the demand for more of the same from his promoters and buyers, and his philosophy is out of reach to the radical forces that would reshape and re-energize Russian culture.
Differently, Aivazovsky's legacy is just being taught today. His waves were layered with heavy brushes, flowing outwards from the point of detail, such as a ship, so the peripheral vision is more imaginative than detailed. His skies were always delicately painted, usually in one short session using thin washes. Aivazovsky's connection with the canvas might sometimes be far more instantaneous, embodied, and visceral than other 19th-century academicians who meticulously and systematically worked over a canvas in minute detail. He would propel his body to the surface while carrying a brush to supply the paint with the strength he wished. Visitors to his studio have highlighted how physically demanding his work was and how frequently he grew tired from working so speedily and with such physiological intensity. Many of Aivazovsky's stormy seascapes still churn with this energy and physicality, while his placid views frequently feel dated and lifeless. The viscerality of his seas as internal walls, as a result of his body's attention to the act of painting, still feels vividly alive and provides an example of what painting can achieve through its basic materiality.