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Clouds above the sea

Ivan Aivazovsky • Painting, 1889, 112×146 cm
About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Marina
Style of art: Romanticism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1889
Size: 112×146 cm
Artwork in selections: 26 selections

Description of the artwork «Clouds above the sea»

The sea occupies a special place in the work of Ivan Aivazovsky. The artist perfectly felt the sea spaces and knew how to depict them skilfully on his canvases. He perceived the sea in its endless variability of forms, from raging waves during a storm to gentle calm.

When examining the works by this Russian painter, we can see that he seems to have access to some hidden rhythms of the movement of the sea surface. The innate instinct of the artist helped him to comprehend the sea with that inimitable truth only peculiar to him. Aivazovsky conveyed these images in a poetic and captivating manner. At the same time, the artist paid no less attention and free canvas space to the sky. In his Clouds above the Sea. Calm painting, like in many others, the painter built a composition with a very low horizon. And due to the canvas division, he seems to fix the attention on a huge plane that was reserved for the heavenly expanses.

The Aivazovsky's Clouds above the Sea. Calm painting was executed in 1889. This oil on canvas work is kept in the State Russian Museum. Aivazovsky’s work of the 1880s is represented by a number of paintings of the calm sea in the daytime. To recreate those rare moments of pacification of the elements, the artist used his specific pictorial language.

The Aivazovsky’s Clouds above the Sea. Calm painting was painted by his individual method of colour and lines construction, which made the work extraordinary and bewitching. In comparison with his previous years of creativity, the style of Ivan Aivazovsky became more restrained during that period. Despite the fact that bright colours almost do not appear on the canvases, freeing up space for light, pastel shades, the painter’s seascapes are still surprisingly soulful.

When looking at Aivazovsky’s Clouds above the Sea. Calm painting, there immediately appears a feeling of calmness and awe. This is what distinguishes the artist’s later works. The sea no longer splashes in restless waves on the canvas. Now it is in harmony with the sky, being its continuation. In Aivazovsky’s Clouds above the Sea. Calm painting, we can feel a state of calm, almost nirvana, which comes after the storm.

Art critic Vladimir Stasov quite often spoke about the paintings of this famous artist. Many distinctive features of his work aroused rejection in Vladimir. He spoke with particular indignation about the improvisation method, opposing the speed and ease with which Aivazovsky painted his masterpieces. However, after all, Stasov emphasized the perfect exclusivity of the artist. He admired his specific perception of the surrounding reality and the way in which Aivazovsky displayed it on his canvases, which fascinated everyone else with the natural beauty.