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Айвазовский, Иван Константинович


AIVAZOVSKY Ivan Konstantinovich

July 17 (30), 1817 — April 19 (May 2), 1900

Painter, seascape painter, collector

Ivan Aivazovsky was born to the family of Armenian small trader in Feodosia. He began to draw since early childhood. He studied under the guidance of local architect. In 1831 Aivazovsky was admitted to the Taurida gymnasium. In 1833–1837 he studied at St. Petersburg Academy of Art under the guidance of the landscape painter M. N. Vorobiev and the French seascape painter F. Tanneur. Tanneur taught Aivazovsky the main devices of waterscape.

In autumn 1833 Aivazovsky exposed at the academician exhibition five seascapes, which were highly appreciated in press. In 1835 Aivazovsky was awarded silver medal for the sketch The air over the sea. In 1837 he was awarded big gold medal and conferred a title of an artist for two paintings Calm in the Gulf of Finland and Kronstadt roadstead. At that time he was proposed to paint several landscapes of the Crimea, in particular the Crimean towns. This trip had a significant influence on the future of the artist. There Aivazovsky met P. S. Nakhimov, M. P. Lazarev and V. A. Kornilov; he became interested in sea battle-scene painting. In spring 1838 Aivazovsky returned to Feodosia and arranged his own studio. At that time he painted mostly from nature.

In 1840 Aivazovsky together with other pensioners of the Academy of Arts traveled to Rome in order to continue his education and to improve his technique of landscape painting. Aivazovsky studied classical art in the museums of Rome, Venice, Florence, and Napoli. He visited Germany, Switzerland, Holland, France, England, Spain and Portugal. Soon Aivazovsky became one of the most famous European painters. He participated in many exhibitions all over the world, including famous exhibitions of his works in Paris in 1843. Aivazovsky’s romantic seascapes Storm, Chaos, Neapolitan night brought fame to him. He was the first foreign painter who was awarded the Legion of Honor; exhibition of Aivazovsky’s paintings in the Louvre produced big impression on the French. The painting Chaos (in non-typical for him mystical genre) was bought by Vatican; Pope Gregory XVI awarded the gold medal to Aivazovsky for this painting.

In 1844 Aivazovsky returned to the homeland as a master of standing reputation, academician of the Rome, Paris and Amsterdam Academy of Arts.

In 1845 Aivazovsky became an academician, in 1847 — professor, in 1887 — honored member of the Academy of Arts. He worked as a painter under the Head Naval Staff. Aivazovsky as a member of the expedition of the navigator and geographer F. P. Litke visited Turkey, Greece, and Asia Minor. Aivazovsky also visited the Caucus, Egypt, Nice, and Florence; at the end of life he traveled even to America (1898).


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