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Ivan Aivazovskyi

The picture gallery in Feodosia boasts the famous largest in the world
collection of the most prominent seascape Ivan K. Aivazovskyi. The
Gallery in fact is the sole in Ukraine museum of the seascape painting.

Apart from the pictures of the illustrious seascape painter on show here
are the works of his contemporaries and pupils-the artist K.
Bogaievskyi, M. Voloshin, M. Latri. There are also the works of modern
painters whose art is associated with the landscape of the Eastern
Crimea.

The Gallery was founded in 1880 by I. Aivazovskyi whose life and
creative career is reflected by the exhibition of the
memorial-historical department.

Ivan K. Aivazovskyi was born in Crimea in the seaside city of Feodosia
on July 17,1817. The impressions of childhood determined his
predilection for the seascape painting. In 1883 he entered the St.
Petersburg Academy of Arts..

In 1836 I.Aivazovskyi was introduced to O. Pushkin as a greatly
promising artist. He made 10 depictions of the great poet. The picture
known most of all is «Pushkin Bidding Farewell to the Sea» executed by
Aivazovskyi jointly with Illia Repin.

It took I. Aivazovskyi only four years to finish the six-year course of
the Academy of Arts. He received a big gold medal and was granted a
scholarship for training abroad.

In Italy I. Aivazovskyi ranked with the best painters of Europe. The
seascapes of the young painter appeared at the exhibitions in Rome,
Paris, London and Amsterdam. They were highly appreciated by the
viewers. In 183 I. Aivazovskyi was awarded in France a gold medal. In
Holland he was elected an Academician. It was a significant event since
Holland is known to be the homeland of the seascape painting.

I. Aivazovskyi came back from abroad a recognized master. He was made
Academician of St, Petersburg Academy. The painter was attached to the
Chief Naval Headquarters and was granted the right of wearing the
full-dress coat of the Ministry of Navy.

In 1845 the painter settled in Feodosia for good because of hi deep
affection for the Black Sea and his native city. He took the most active
part in the city’s life. He created an art studio, opened a library and
initiated the construction of the archeological museum. His tireless
civic activities promoted the building of the seaport in Feodosia and
the railway to it.

I. Aivazovskyi strove to make his house a center of artistic life.In
1880 to the house where he lived and worked a large hall was added where
his paintings were exhibited. This hall became one of the first picture
galleries in the country. The house had a small stage where amateur
theatricals were arranged.

The Gallery was visited by the townspeople and the passengers of the
steamers calling at the Feodosia seaport.

Ivan Aivazovskyi retained till the last day of his life the ability to
creative work without which he could not live. His words ‘To live means
for me to work», could have become the motto of his life.

Aivazovskyi died in the night on April 18, 1900.

In 1900, according to I.K. Aivazovskyi’s will the Picture gallery became
the property of the city of Feodosia. The bequest numbered 49 pictures
of the painter.

It was decided to begin collecting pictures of other masters of
seascaping: Lagorio, A. Fessler, E. Magdesian, the painters of Feodosia
K. Bogaievskyi, M. Latri, M. Voloshin. This determined the type of the
Gallery: it was to become the collection of chiefly seascapes. The
Gallery collection was enriched with 11 works of the West European
painters and increased fivefold.

In 1941, before occupation of Feodosia, the collection of pictures was
evacuated to Yerevan in Armenia. The building of the Picture Gallery was
badly damaged. On May 2,1946 the museum was reopened for visitors.

The stocks of the Gallery were enlarged by the paintings of Aivazovskyi,
which were transferred from other museums or came from private
collections.

The romantic perception of the world was the nucleus of Aivazovskyi’s
talent. The painter strove to single out not the typical but the
exclusive. He created pictures distinguished by a particular sonority
and vividness of colours. The sea all glittering with sunlight, quiet
moonlit nights are depicted in them with a great skill.

Among the works especially noteworthy are: «The St. George Monastery»
/1846/, «Evening in the Crimea. Yalta>» /1848/, «Venice» /1849/, «The
Seashore. Farewell». /1851/, «The Ships at the Roadstead», /1851/, «The
Sea» /1853/, «the Moonlit Night in the Crimea» /1859/, «The Sea», 1864,
«A storm in the North Sea» /1866/.

The creation of these works was preceded by the spiritual atmosphere of
Pushkin’s epoch. Just as Pushkin in’poetry and K. Briullov in painting
expressed freedom-loving ideas, so did Aivazovskyi convey in his
romantic works the idea of being happy only in «storms of battle».

In 1858 the painter created his masterpiece «The Tenth Wave». It is
considered the painter’s most romantic work. This large canvas is on
show at the Russian Museum in St. Peterburg.

On the canvas amid the huge waves of the ocean the shipwrecked sailors
trying to survive on the piece of the wreckage are depicted. The painter
contrasts the will-power of a man with the violent force of the element.
Filled with the pathos of the struggle it glorifies the courage of man
before the smashing might of the raging ocean.

The secret of the popularity of the «Tenth Wave» lies not in the
dramatism of the situation but in the general life-asserting mood of the
picture. The struggle and triumph of man overthe element is the
painter’s favourite theme.

Among the works of Aivazovskyi there are a number of paintings, which
have nothing in common with the marine subjects.

The Ukrainian landscape pieces of Aivazovskyi reveal great lyricism and
keen perception of every day life. They attract one’s attention by a
gentle poetical mood and beautiful sonorous colouring.

In the 1870’s romanticism of Aivazovskyi was replaced by the more
objective perception of nature. The best canvases of this period are
«The Rainbow»/1873/, «The Storm off Cape Aya’V 1875/, ‘The
Shipwreck»/1876/.

The ’80’s marked the period of final making of realistic landscape. More
works appeared in restrained range of colours. Such is «The Black
Sea’71881 / on show at the State Tretiakov Gallery. Its epic mood is
associated with the majestically accords of the symphonic poem by N.
Rymskyi-Korsakov «The Sea».

The talent of I. Aivazovskyi reached its height in the painting «Amid
the Waves» created by the artist in 1898. The tendency for laconism of
colour has been reflected in it. The beauty and might of the sea has
been expressed in emotional colour range: The sea, the waves, the air
are depicted with super skill. The emotional image of the sea is one of
the masterpieces of world marine painting.

The Feodosia Gallery boasts a large collection of Aivazovskyi’s drawings
/over 270/. Many of them can be regarded as independent works of art:
«The Kerch Gulf with Schooners», «An Oriental town», «An Italian Town».

In the Gallery there is a small collection of seascapes painted by the
artists of 19-20* cc.

A. Fessler managed to reveal in his pictures «Feodosia», «Yalta»,
«Simeiz» the beauty of the land he lived and worked in.

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