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Your position: Home / Browse By Artist’s works / Aivazovsky Ivan Constantinovich
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Aivazovsky Ivan Constantinovich (1817-1900)

 

Aivazovsky is the most interesting phenomenon of 19th century art. He gained international fame at the age of 25, was elected a member to five European Academies and was awarded the medal of the French Legion of Honor. 
Aivazovsky's name is intricately bound with the sea. "Perhaps no one in Europe has painted the extraordinary beauty of the sea with so much feeling and expressiveness as Aivazovsky has", writes V. Adasov. 

At the turn of the 19th century, the Armenian merchant Konstantin (Gevork) Aivazovsky moved to Theodosia from Poland. The Armenian church of the city recorded on July 17, 1817, the birth of "Hovhannes, son of Gevork Ayvazian" in the register of births and baptisms. His father operated a small store in Theodosia and his mother was employed in the lace and embroidery industry. Both worked diligently in order to support their five children.

The Governor of Theodosia recognized the talent of young Hovhannes and helped him enter high school in Simferopol and in 1833 St . Petersburg Academy of Art where he studied under M. Vorobyov, a renowned Russian landscape painter and the French marine painter F. Tanner, and where he graduated with honours at 20 years of age. He was sent to study in Italy and returned a recognised 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," Aivazovski created around 6,000 paintings. His house in his native town was turned into a museum dedicated to his memory even during his lifetime.

One of the greatest seascape painters of his time, Aivazovsky 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. 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.

Following the massacres of the Armenians in Turkey, many refugees came to Theodosia, where Aivazovsky provided shelter and food, and helped families relocate. So incensed was he with the treatment of the Armenians in Turkey that he painted a series of canvases condemning the massacres, which were exhibted in Moscow. He also renounced the medals which has been presented to him by the Sultan. His own emotional involvement with the massacres produced the paintings, The Armenian Massacres of Trevizond, Shiploaded Armenians, and Armenians Thrown into the Sea Alive.

In accordance with his wishes, Aivazovsky was buried in the courtyard of the St. Sarkis Armenian Church in Theodosia. The inscription on his tombstone, in Armenian and Russian reads: "He was born a mortal, left an immortal legacy".

Most of this biography was quoted from Aivazovsky in America, edited by Iris Papazian and Andrew Shahinian.

Stormy Sea at Night, 1849, Pavlovsk Palace, Saint Petersburg Sale
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The Ninth Wave (1850, Russian Museum, Saint Petersburg) Sale
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(118) (156)
Mkrtich Khrimian near Echmiadzin Sale
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(104) (133)
Lord Byron's visit to San Lazzaro degli Armeni (1899) Sale
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(94) (169)
Oath Before the Battle of Avarayr (1892) Sale
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(84) (148)
Descent of Noah from Ararat (1889), National Gallery of Armenia Sale
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(124) (159)
The Baptism of the Armenian People (1892) Sale
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(113) (162)
Valley of Mount Ararat (1882) Sale
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(103) (144)
Tower Sale
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(93) (176)
The Great Pyramid of Giza Sale
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(82) (158)
Coffee-house by the Ortaköy Mosque in Constantinople Sale
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(103) (173)
Trebizond Sale
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(121) (143)
Dusk on the Golden Horn Sale
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(89) (146)
Sunset over the Golden Horn Sale
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(107) (135)
Boat Ride by Kumkapı in Constantinople Sale
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(84) (171)
Scenes from Cairo's Life Sale
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(93) (156)
View of Constantinopole by Evening Light Sale
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(111) (142)
Top-Kahne Mosque (the Nusretiye Mosque in Tophane, Istanbul) Sale
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(129) (178)
A Moonlit Night on the Bosphorus Sale
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(97) (166)
Bosphorus Sale
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(118) (153)
Passage of the Jews through the Red Sea (1891) Sale
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(83) (138)
Jesus walking on water (1890) Sale
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(101) (178)
Jesus walking on water (1888) Sale
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(119) (163)
Chaos (1841) Sale
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(86) (149)
Lake Maggiore in the Evening (1892) Sale
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(104) (133)
Brig "Mercury" Attacked by Two Turkish Ships (1892) Sale
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(122) (135)
Tempest by Sounion, 1856 Sale
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(90) (158)
Seascape with a steamer (1886) Sale
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(108) (143)
Sea coast at night. Near the beacon Sale
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(126) (181)
Ship "Twelve Apostles" (1878) Sale
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(94) (170)
Rainbow (1873) Sale
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American Shipping off the Rock of Gibraltar (1873) Sale
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Battle of Çesme at Night (1856) Sale
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(98) (154)
Battle of Çesme at Night (1856) Sale
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Bracing The Waves Sale
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Battle of Navarino (1848) Sale
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(102) (134)
Night at Gurzuf Sale
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(124) (171)
Moscow in Winter from the Sparrow Hills (1872) Sale
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(88) (157)
View of Tiflis (1869) Sale
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View of Constantinople, with the newly-constructed Ortaköy Mosque (1856) Sale
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(124) (161)
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