Throughout his lifetime, Ivan Aivazovsky contributed over 6,000 paintings to the art world, ranging from his early landscapes of the Crimean countryside to the seascapes and coastal scenes for which he is most famous. Aivazovsky was especially effective at developing the play of light in his paintings, sometimes applying layers of color to create a transparent quality, a technique for which they are highly admired.
Although he produced many portraits and landscapes, over half of all of Aivazovsky’s paintings are realistic depictions of coastal scenes and seascapes. He is most remembered for his beautifully melodramatic renditions of the seascapes of which he painted the most. Many of his later works depict the painful heartbreak of soldiers at battle or lost at sea, with a soft celestial body taunting of hope from behind the clouds. His artistic technique centers on his ability to render the realistic shimmer of the water against the light of the subject in the painting, be it the full moon, the sunrise, or battleships in flames. Many of his paintings also illustrate his adeptness at filling the sky with light, be it the diffuse light of a full moon through fog, or the orange glow of the sun gleaming through the clouds.
This painting is a testament to the artist’s skill of portraying light and dark. With nothing more than a pencil and gouache on paper, this scene illustrates the strong winds and crash of the waves with violent intensity. This intensity makes you fear for the safety of the standing observers, as if the waves threaten to dash the ship against the cliff, upon which they are standing, and throw them into the sea. Three seagulls fly over the ship, creating the slight sense that all hope is not lost, and seeming as if is not impossible to hope that the ship may not yet be lost.
This lovely card was sent to me by Rita from Kaliningrad in Russia.