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Among the waves

Ivan Aivazovsky • Painting, 1898, 284×429 cm
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About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Marina
Style of art: Romanticism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1898
Size: 284×429 cm
Artwork in selections: 97 selections
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Description of the artwork «Among the waves»

When critics reproached Aivazovsky for being extremely monotonous and romantic in the old-fashioned way, he did not argue with them, but answered, as a real artist, with his new paintings. You say, it is too romantic and brightly coloured? Too far from the people? Have the marinas that are extremely colour-discreet. For example, this one, “Among the Waves”, or the “Black Sea”, which he panted before.
This picture and its subject matter follows the “Black Sea” painting, the second name of which is “A storm coming to the Black Sea”. Here the storm has already blown up in full force. We see a black stormy sky, the artist began painting from it. And there is an amazingly transparent sea beneath it in the foreground, getting thicker in the depth of the canvas. “Among the Waves” is the benefit performance of tAivazovsky’s waves. This is a wave with foam curls, a translucent wave obtained by the glazing technique. Such waves make up the subject matter of this picture — transparent, with light colour accents ranging from grayish green to silver blue, depending on the lighting, as if the artist decided to concentrate on one thing and give himself freedom to depict waves, and he did it well... In this case, “lighting” is the sunbeam breaking through from behind thunderclouds. We can find such a ray or its reflections in any painting by Aivazovsky (in some cases it will be moonlight, not sunlight).
Aivazovsky’s grandson Konstantin Artseulov said that in the original version, there had to be a boat with shipwrecked victims. In contrast to the raging elements that filled the huge canvas, it seemed like a toy: “Ivan Konstantinovich asked the opinion of my father, a ship engineer, ‘the poet of ship forms’, as they called him sometimes. Father expressed his admiration for the sea and added: ‘It is only not clear why this shell with people is kept on the surface?’” According to the recollections of his grandson, the artist was terribly angry and, without saying a word, turned away and walked out. And the next day, the family found that there was no boat in the picture.
Aivazovsky never took this picture out of Feodosia, although he arranged exhibitions in Moscow, London and St. Petersburg after he had painted it (at a very old age). Together with his other works, “Among the waves” was bequeathed to Feodosia.

Author: Aliona Esaulova


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