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Ivan Aivazovsky • Painting, 1889, 128×218 cm
About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Landscape, Historical scene
Style of art: Romanticism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1889
Size: 128×218 cm
Artwork in selections: 19 selections

Description of the artwork «Pompeii»

1880-ies — the period when the artist's skill had reached its highest point, and his work has acquired the most characteristic features. However, at this time, the master writes works that differ in maximum realism. The transition to realism, which began two decades earlier, was fully completed: in the paintings of the painter to life the elements of fire, water and air.

Aivazovsky Painting "Pompeii" written this way. The mighty forces of nature that struck the city depicted in the dynamics, which further underlines the scale of the horrific tragedy that claimed many human lives.

Description of a picture of Ayvazovsky "Pompeii"

Work dedicated to the disappearance from the face of the earth of the ancient city, its name suggestive of another Grand canvas, owned by brush Karl Briullov. The comparison is not accidental, since Aivazovsky was friendly with the author of "the Last days of Pompeii", to some extent, considered him his mentor, and his work undoubtedly influenced the brushwork of the great painter of seascapes. In addition, the theme was popular due to renewed and adopted systematic excavations conducted in 60-70 years of XIX century.

All this influenced the choice of subject for the paintings by Aivazovsky "Pompeii", but this work in any case is not the imitation of the painting Briullov. The main difference is that the main characters of "Destruction of Pompeii" are not people. First and foremost, attracted the attention of viewers the struggle of the elements: fire and water, expertly shown by the artist.

In the background of the painting depicts the now ruins of the city buried under a layer of lava and ash and fire. According to historical documents, the eruption of mount Vesuvius began on the day but on the canvas of Aivazovsky, it appears to be in full swing late at night. The reflections of the flames contrast with the dark sky that underlines the dramatic situation. To enhance the realism in the painting of Aivazovsky's "Pompeii" all over the canvas shows ash falling from the sky into the sea.

The color palette works also corresponds to the artist's conception: everything, including the sea, written in red, yellow and brown tones, creating a atmosphere of terror and fear that gripped the poor people. The menacing black waves — the main characters of most works of genius seascape — reflect the raging flames and clouds of smoke and steam, written in scarlet.

However, in contrast to the paintings of Karl Briullov, Aivazovsky's painting has a place of hope for salvation for the inhabitants of Pompeii. In the foreground are the many hastily departing ships with frightened, but escaped death people. Perhaps it is because of their testimonies, the world learned the details of the tragedy, and the greatest artists were able to capture a tragic moment in his paintings.