Ivan Aivazovsky – Russian Romantic painter
Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (Russian: 29 July 1817 – 2 May 1900) was a Russian Romantic painter. He is considered one of the greatest marine artists in history. Baptized as Hovhannes Aivazian, Aivazovsky was born into an Armenian family in the Black Sea port of Feodosia and was mostly based in his native Crimea.
Following his education at the Imperial Academy of Arts, Aivazovsky traveled to Europe and lived briefly in Italy in the early 1840s.
He then returned to Russia and was appointed the main painter of the Russian Navy. Aivazovsky had close ties with the military and political elite of the Russian Empire and often attended military maneuvers.
He was sponsored by the imperial family and was well-regarded during his lifetime. The saying “worthy of Aivazovsky’s brush”, popularized by Anton Chekhov, was used in Russia for “describing something ineffably lovely.”
One of the most prominent Russian artists of his time, Aivazovsky was also popular outside Russia. He held numerous solo exhibitions in Europe and the United States.
During his almost sixty-year career, he created around 6,000 paintings, making him one of the most prolific artists of his time. The vast majority of his works are seascapes, but he often depicted battle scenes, Armenian themes, and portraiture. Most of Aivazovsky’s works are kept in Russian, Ukrainian and Armenian museums as well as private collections.
His father, Konstantin, (c. 1765–1840) was an Armenian merchant from the Polish region of Galicia. The family ancestors had migrated to Europe from Turkish Armenia in the 18th century.
After numerous familial conflicts, Konstantin left Galicia for Moldavia, later moving to Bukovina, before settling in Feodosia in the early 1800s. He was initially known as Gevorg Aivazian (Haivazian or Haivazi), but he changed his last name to Gaivazovsky by adding the Polish “-sky”. Aivazovsky’s mother, Ripsime, was a Feodosia Armenian.
The couple had five children—three daughters and two sons.Aivazovsky’s brother, Gabriel, was a prominent historian and an Armenian Apostolic archbishop.
The young Aivazovsky received parochial education at Feodosia’s St. Sargis Armenian Church.He was taught drawing by Jacob Koch, a local architect. Aivazovsky moved to Simferopol with Taurida Governor Alexander Kaznacheyev’s family in 1830 and attended the city’s Russian gymnasium.
In 1833, Aivazovsky arrived in the Russian capital, Saint Petersburg, to study at the Imperial Academy of Arts in Maxim Vorobiev’s landscape class. In 1835, he was awarded with a silver medal and appointed assistant to the French painter Philippe Tanneur (fr).
In September 1836, Aivazovsky met Russia’s national poet Alexander Pushkin during the latter’s visit to the Academy. In 1837, Aivazovsky joined the battle-painting class of Alexander Sauerweid and participated in Baltic Fleet exercises in the Gulf of Finland. In October 1837, he graduated from the Imperial Academy of Arts with a gold medal, two years earlier than intended.
Aivazovsky returned to Feodosia in 1838 and spent two years in his native Crimea. “Barely finished with his studies, his name was already circulating throughout Russia.” In 1839, he took part in military exercises in the shores of Crimea, where he met Russian admirals Mikhail Lazarev, Pavel Nakhimov and Vladimir Kornilov.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia