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AIVAZOVSKY, Ivan Konstantinovich

Mary Sedici Mary Sedici 6106 posts

Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky

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Հովհաննես Կոստանդինի Այվազովսկի Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky
Иван Константинович Айвазовский
Russian painter of Armenian descent (b. 1776, Karpovo, d. 1857, Moscow)

Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky ( Armenian: Հովհաննես Այվազովսկի – Hovhannes Aivasovsky, originally Aivazian Ukrainian: Іва́н Костянти́нович Айвазо́вський, Russian: Иван Константинович Айвазовский) July 29, 1817 – May 5, 1900) was a Russian painter of Armenian descent living and working in Crimea, most famous for his seascapes, which constitute more than half of his paintings.

At the turn of the 19th century, the Armenian merchant Konstantin (Gevork) Aivazovskiy 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. Borth worked diligently in order to support their five children.
Aivazovsky was born in the town of Feodosiya (Theodosia), Crimea (Russian Empire) (modern-day Ukraine) to a poor Armenian family. His parents’ family name was Aivazian. Some of the artist’s paintings bear a signature, in Armenian letters, “Hovhannes Aivazian” (Հովհաննես Այվազյան). His talent as an artist earned him sponsorship and entry to the Simferopol gymnasium №1 and later the St.Petersburg Academy of Arts, from which he graduated with a gold medal. Earning awards for his early landscapes and seascapes, he went on to paint a series of portraits of Crimean coastal towns before travelling throughout Europe. In later life, his paintings of naval scenes earned him a long-standing commission from the Russian Navy.

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,” Aivazovskiy created around 6,000 paintings. His house in his native town was turned into a museum dedicated to his memory even during his lifetime.

In 1845, Aivazovsky went to Constantinople upon the invitation of Sultan Abdülmecid, a city he was to travel to eight times between 1845-1890. During his long sojourn in Constantinople, Aivazovsky was commissioned for a number of paintings as a court painter by the Ottoman Sultans Abdülmecid, Abdulaziz and Abdulhamid, 30 of which are currently on display in the Ottoman Imperial Palace, the Dolmabahce Museum and many other museums in Turkey. His works are also found in dozens of museums throughout Russia and the former Soviet republics, including the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, and the Aivazovsky Art Gallery in Feodosiya, Ukraine. The office of Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Abdullah Gül, has Aivasovsky’s paintings on the wall. 1

At 31, Aivazovsky married Julia Graves, an English governess in St. Petersburg. They had four daughters. The marriage was dissolved, and at the age of 65, Aivazovsky, married Anna Boornazian, a young Armenian widow from Theodosia.

Aivazovsky was deeply affected by the Hamidian massacres of Armenians in Asia Minor in 1895, painting a number of works on the subject such as “The Expulsion of the Turkish Ship,” and “The Armenian Massacres at Trevizond.” and renouncing a medal which had been awarded to him in Constantinople.2 He spent his last years in Feodosia where he supplied the town with water from his own estate, opened an art school, began the first archaeological excavations in the region and built a historical museum. Due to his efforts a commercial port was established at Feodosiya and linked to the railway network. 3. Aivasovsky died in Feodosiya in 1900.

One of the greatest seascape painters of his time, Aivazovskiy 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 Aivazovskiy’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.

In accordance with his wishes, Aivazovskiy 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”.
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Deutsch: Reval (heute Tallinn) in Estland. Öl auf Leinwand, 59 × 81 cm. Verkauft 2006 in Zürich, Galerie Koller für 1.5 Millionen Schweizer Franken an eine Privatsammlung in Monaco
(this painting has been sold in 2006 with 1.5 mil Swiss Franks)

paulinak paulinak 31 posts

Mary, you are amazing!!! He is my favorite painter, he and his brilliant paintings were leading me through my artistic life!

Mary Sedici Mary Sedici 6106 posts

Hello Paulina, I am glad I have that Crystal Ball :))

Mary Sedici Mary Sedici 6106 posts

Amazing painter, and cute too:)

paulinak paulinak 31 posts

Another interesting fact about him is that he never painted the sea on the plain air, he used to sit on the shore from the morning till dusk watching the waves, and then he went home to paint it. His skill is incredible.

Arturas Slapsys Arturas Slapsys 291 posts

Great painter. I like his art . Thank you very much Mary !

BettyHermann BettyHermann 4445 posts

I did’t know this painter before…BEAUTIFUL ART!!! Thanks Mary.

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