Hovhannes Aivazovsky (Ayvazyan)
- Famous Armenian painter who knew the sea
and loved it sincerely.
Aivazovsky was born on 17 July 1817 (29 July New
in the city of Theodosia in the Crimea (There was a big
Armenian colony). His father
was well-educated man.
He called himself Haivazosky.
Drawing ability of young Aivazovsky attracted the
attention of A. Kaznacheyev, the town-governor, who helped Aivazovsky to
enter the high school at Simferopol and in 1833, the St Petersburg Academy
of Arts.At the age of
twenty he graduated from the Art Academy of St. Petersburg with a gold
At the age of 25 he have already gained international fame.
During the period of 1840-1844 Aivazovsky, as a
pensioner of the Academy of Arts, spent time in Italy, traveled to Germany,
France, Spain, and Holland. He worked much and had many exhibitions, meeting
everywhere with success. He painted a lot of marine landscapes, which became
very popular in Italy: The Bay of Naples by Moonlight (1842), Seashore. Calm
(1843), Malta. Valetto Harbour (1844).
Delacroix referred to him in reverence and Turner called
him a genius. 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.
In the course of his work, Aivazovsky evolved
his own method of depicting the motion of the sea – from memory, without
preliminary sketches, limiting himself to rough pencil outlines.
Aivazovsky’s phenomenal memory and romantic imagination allowed him to do
all this with incomparable brilliance. The development of this new method
reflected the spirit of the age, when the ever-increasing romantic
tendencies put an artist's imagination to the front.
When in 1844 the artist returned to St. Petersburg, he
was awarded the title of Academician, and became attached to the General
Naval Headquarters. This allowed him to travel much with Russian fleet
expeditions on different missions; he visited Turkey, Greece, Egypt,
America. From 1846 to 1848 he painted several canvases with naval warfare as
the subject; the pictures portrayed historical battles of the Russian Fleet
The Battle of Chesme (1848), The Battle in the Chios Channel (1848), Meeting
of the Brig Mercury with the Russian Squadron... (1848).
Neither financial security nor
life in Palace interested him. He returned to his native land, built a
workplace/home on the seashore and, until the last days of his life,
dedicates himself to the work that he loved.
died in 1900.
According to his wishes, Aivazovsky was buried in the Armenian Church of St.
Sarkis in Theodosia. His tombstone has a quotation from historian
Khorenatsi's "History of Armenians" - "Born a mortal, he left immortal
memories". The "memories" condense in them the spirit of the times and the
most precious spirit of all time - that of Humanism.
Aivazovsky left more than 6000 pictures. Most of his
works are world-famous.