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Ivan Aivazovsky

Ivan Aivazovsky
Self-portrait, 1874, oil on canvas, 74 × 58 cm, Uffizi, Florence[1][2]
Born Hovhannes Aivazian (baptized)
29 July [O.S. 17 July] 1817
Feodosia, Taurida, Russian Empire (present-day Crimea, disputed by Ukraine and Russia)[1]
Died 2 May [O.S. 19 April] 1900 (aged 82)
Feodosia, Russian Empire
Resting place St. Sargis Armenian Church, Feodosia
Education Imperial Academy of Arts
Known for Painting, drawing
Movement Romanticism, Neoclassicism[3]
Spouse(s) Julia Graves (1848–77)
Anna Burnazian (1882–1900)
Awards see below
Aivazovsky's signature, 1866

Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (Russian: Ива́н Константи́нович Айвазо́вский, Armenian: Հովհաննես Այվազովսկի Hovhannes Ayvazovski;[2] 29 July 1817 – 2 May 1900) was a Russian Romantic painter. He is considered one of the greatest marine artists in history.[12] Baptized as Hovhannes Aivazian, Aivazovsky was born into an Armenian family in the Black Sea port of Feodosia and was mostly based in his native Crimea.

Following his education at the Imperial Academy of Arts, Aivazovsky traveled to Europe and lived briefly in Italy in the early 1840s. He then returned to Russia and was appointed the main painter of the Russian Navy. Aivazovsky had close ties with the military and political elite of the Russian Empire and often attended military maneuvers. He was sponsored by the state and was well-regarded during his lifetime. The saying "worthy of Aivazovsky's brush", popularized by Anton Chekhov, was used in Russia for "describing something ineffably lovely."[13]

One of the most prominent Russian artists of his time, Aivazovsky was also popular outside Russia. He held numerous solo exhibitions in Europe and the United States. During his almost sixty-year career, he created around 6,000 paintings,[14][15] making him one of the most prolific artists of his time.[16][5] The vast majority of his works are seascapes, but he often depicted battle scenes, Armenian themes, and portraiture. Most of Aivazovsky's works are kept in Russian, Ukrainian and Armenian museums as well as private collections.


  • Biography 1
    • Background and education 1.1
    • First visit to Europe 1.2
    • Return to Russia and first marriage 1.3
    • Rise to prominence 1.4
    • Travels and accolades: 1860s–1880s 1.5
    • Second marriage and later life 1.6
    • Death 1.7
  • Aivazovsky the artist 2
    • Exhibitions 2.1
    • Style 2.2
    • Works 2.3
      • Armenian themes 2.3.1
  • Recognition 3
    • In Armenia 3.1
  • Influence 4
  • Legacy 5
    • Posthumous honors 5.1
    • Auctions 5.2
    • Ranks 5.3
    • Awards 5.4
  • See also 6
  • References 7
    • Bibliography 7.1
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9


A self-portrait, 1830s–1840s[6]

Background and education

Ivan Aivazovsky was born on 17 July (29 in Armenian: Գէորգ Այվազեանի որդի Յօհաննեսն).[18] During his study at the Imperial Academy of Arts, he was known in Russian as Ivan Gaivazovsky (Иванъ Гайвазовскій in the pre-1918 spelling).[19] He became known as Aivazovsky since c. 1840, while in Italy.[9] He signed a 1844 letter with the italianized version of his name: Giovani Aivazovsky.[20]

His father, Konstantin, (c. 1765–1840),[21] was an Armenian merchant from the -sky". Aivazovsky's mother, Ripsime, was a Feodosia Armenian. The couple had five children—three daughters and two sons.[22] Aivazovsky's brother, Gabriel, was a prominent historian and an Armenian Apostolic archbishop.

Farm House and Windmill by moonlight, 1863

The young Aivazovsky received parochial education at Feodosia's St. Sargis Armenian Church.[23] He was taught drawing by Jacob Koch, a local architect. Aivazovsky moved to Simferopol with Taurida Governor Alexander Kaznacheyev's family in 1830 and attended the city's Russian gymnasium.[24] In 1833, Aivazovsky arrived in the Russian capital, Saint Petersburg, to study at the Imperial Academy of Arts in Maxim Vorobiev's landscape class. In 1835, he was awarded with a silver medal and appointed assistant to the French painter Philippe Tanneur (fr).[25] In September 1836, Aivazovsky met Russia's national poet Alexander Pushkin during the latter's visit to the Academy.[26][27] In 1837, Aivazovsky joined the battle-painting class of Alexander Sauerweid and participated in Baltic Fleet exercises in the Gulf of Finland.[28] In October 1837, he graduated from the Imperial Academy of Arts with a gold medal, two years earlier than intended.[29][23][16] Aivazovsky returned to Feodosia in 1838 and spent two years in his native Crimea.[22][28] In 1839, he took part in military exercises in the shores of Crimea, where he met Russian admirals Mikhail Lazarev, Pavel Nakhimov and Vladimir Kornilov.[17][30]

First visit to Europe

Portrait of Aivazovsky by Alexey Tyranov, 1841

In 1840, Aivazovsky was sent by the Imperial Academy of Arts to study in Europe.[29][28] He first traveled to Venice via Berlin and Vienna and visited San Lazzaro degli Armeni, where an important Armenian Catholic congregation was located and his brother Gabriel lived at the time. Aivazovsky studied Armenian manuscripts and became familiar with Armenian art.[31] He met Russian novelist Nikolai Gogol in Venice. He then headed to Florence, Amalfi and Sorrento. In Florence, he met painter Alexander Ivanov.[28] He remained in Naples and Rome between 1840 and 1842. Aivazovsky was heavily influenced by Italian art and their museums became the "second academy" for him.[31] "The echo of the success of his Italian exhibitions was even heard in Russia."[16] Pope Gregory XVI awarded him with a golden medal.[14] He then visited Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and Britain, where he met English painter J. M. W. Turner who, "was so struck by Aivazovsky's picture The Bay of Naples on a Moonlit Night that he dedicated a rhymed eulogy in Italian to Aivazovsky."[30][28] In an international exhibition at the Louvre, he was the only representative from Russia.[31] In France, he received a gold medal from the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture. He then returned to Naples via Marseille and again visited Britain, Portugal, Spain and Malta in 1843. Aivazovsky was admired throughout Europe.[30] He returned to Russia via Paris and Amsterdam in 1844.[30]

Return to Russia and first marriage

Aivazovsky with his first wife, Julia, and their four daughters

Upon his return to Russia, Aivazovsky was made an academician of the Imperial Academy of Arts and was appointed the "official artist of the Russian Navy to paint seascapes, coastal scenes and naval battles."[25][28] In 1845, Aivazovsky traveled to the Aegean Sea with Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich and visited the Ottoman capital, Constantinople, and the Greek islands of Patmos and Rhodes.[28]

In 1845, Aivazovsky settled in his hometown of Feodosia, where he built a house and studio.[17][28] He isolated himself from the outside world, keeping a small circle of friends and relatives.[31] Yet the solitude played a negative role in his art career. By the mid-nineteenth century, Russian art was moving from Romanticism towards a distinct Russian style of Realism, while Aivazovsky continued to paint Romantic seascapes and attract heavy criticism.[31]

In 1845 and 1846, Aivazovsky attended the manoeuvers of the Black Sea Fleet and the Baltic Fleet at Petergof, near the imperial palace. In 1847, he was given the title of professor of seascape painting by the Imperial Academy of Arts and elevated to the rank of nobility. In the same year, he was elected to the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.[28]

In 1848, Aivazovsky married Julia Graves, an English governess. They had four daughters: Elena (1849), Maria (1851), Alexandra (1852) and Joanne (1858). They separated in 1860 and divorced in 1877 with permission from the Armenian Church, since Graves was a Lutheran.[28][32]

Rise to prominence

The vast majority of his works depict the sea.

In 1851, traveling with the Russian emperor Nicholas I, Aivazovsky sailed to Sevastopol to participate in military maneuvers. His archaeological excavations near Feodosia lead to his election as a full member of the Russian Geographical Society in 1853. In that year, the Crimean War erupted between Russia and the Ottoman Empire, and he was evacuated to Kharkiv. While safe, he returned to the besieged fortress of Sevastopol to paint battle scenes.[14] His work was exhibited in Sevastopol while it was under Ottoman siege.[14]

Between 1856 and 1857, Aivazovsky worked in Paris and became the first Russian[33] (and the first non-French) artist to receive the Legion of Honour.[14] In 1857, Aivazovsky visited Constantinople and was awarded the Order of the Medjidie. In the same year he was elected an honorary member of the Moscow Art Society. He was awarded the Greek Order of the Redeemer in 1859 and the Russian Order of St. Vladimir in 1865.

Aivazovsky opened an art studio in Feodosia in 1865 and was awarded a salary by the Imperial Academy of Arts the same year.[28]

A photograph of Aivazovsky, 1870

Travels and accolades: 1860s–1880s

In the 1860s, the artist produced several paintings inspired by Greek nationalism and the Italian unification.[14][17] In 1868, he once again visited Constantinople and produced a series of works about the Greek resistance to the Turks, during the Great Cretan Revolution.[28] In 1868, Aivazovsky traveled in the Caucasus and visited the Russian part of Armenia for the first time. He painted several mountainous landscapes and in 1869 held an exhibition in Tiflis.[17] Later in the year, he made a trip to Egypt and took part in the opening ceremony of the Suez Canal. He became the "first artist to paint the Suez Canal, thus marking an epoch-making event in the history of Europe, Africa and Asia."[14][34]

In 1870, Aivazovsky was made an Actual Civil Councilor, the fourth highest civil rank in Russia.[28] In 1871, he initiated the construction of the archaeological museum in Feodosia.[14] In 1872, he traveled to Nice and Florence to exhibit his paintings.[14] In 1874, the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze (Florence Academy of Fine Art) asked him for a self-portrait to be hung in the Uffizi Gallery.[35][36] The same year, he Aivazovsky was invited to Constantinople by Sultan Abdülaziz who subsequently bestowed upon him the Turkish Order of Osmanieh.[28] In 1876, he was made a member of the Academy of Arts in Florence and became the second Russian artist (after Orest Kiprensky) to paint a self-portrait for the Palazzo Pitti.[14][31]

Aivazovsky was elected an honorary member of Stuttgart's Royal Academy of Fine Arts (de) in 1878. He made a trip to the Netherlands and France, staying briefly in Frankfurt until 1879. He then visited Munich and traveled to Genoa and Venice "to collect material on the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus."[14]

In 1880, Aivazovsky opened an art gallery in his Feodosia house; it became the third museum in the Russian Empire, after the Hermitage Museum and the Tretyakov Gallery.[31][14] Aivazovsky held an 1881 exhibition at London's Pall Mall, attended by John Everett Millais and Edward VII, Prince of Wales.[28]

Second marriage and later life

Portrait of Aivazovsky by Dmitry Bolotov (1876)
Aivazovsky's painting of his second wife Anna Burnazian (1882)

Aivazovsky's second wife, Anna Burnazian, was a young Armenian widow 40 years his junior.[37] Aivazovsky said that by marrying her in 1882, he "became closer to [his] nation", referring to the Armenian people.[32] In 1882, Aivazovsky visited Moscow and St Petersburg and then toured the countryside of Russia by traveling along the Volga River in 1884.[14][28]

In 1885, he was promoted to the rank of Privy Councilor. The next year, the 50th anniversary of his creative labors was celebrated with an exhibition in St Petersburg, and an honorary membership in the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts.[14][25]

After meeting Aivazovsky in person, Anton Chekhov wrote a letter to his wife on 22 July 1888 describing him as follows:[13]

The house in Feodosia, where Aivazovsky lived between 1845 and 1892. It is now an art gallery.

After traveling to Paris with his wife, in 1892 he made a trip to the United States, visiting Niagara Falls in New York and Washington D.C.[14] In 1896, at 79, Aivazovsky was promoted to the rank of full privy councillor.[28]

Aivazovsky was deeply affected by the [39][40]

He spent his final years in Feodosia. In the 1890s, thanks to his efforts a commercial port was established in Feodosia and linked to the railway network of the Russian Empire.[37][41] The railway station, opened in 1892, is now called Ayvazovskaya and is one of the two stations within the city of Feodosia. Aivazovsky also supplied Feodosia with water.[42][43]


Aivazovsky died on 19 April (2 May in New Style) 1900 in Feodosia.[14] In accordance with his wishes, he was buried at the courtyard of St. Sargis Armenian Church.[44] A white marble sarcophagus was made by Italian sculptor L. Biogiolli in 1901.[45] A quote from Movses Khorenatsi's History of Armenia in Classical Armenian is engraved on his tombstone: Մահկանացու ծնեալ անմահ զիւրն յիշատակ եթող (Mahkanatsu tsneal anmah ziurn yishatak yetogh),[46] which translates: "He was born a mortal, left an immortal legacy"[44] or "Born as a mortal, left the immortal memory of himself".[47] After his death, his wife Anna led a generally secluded life and died on July 25, 1944. She was buried next to Aivazovsky.[37]

Aivazovsky the artist

The Ninth Wave (1850) is considered Aivazovsky's most famous work.[48][49][50]

During his sixty-year career, Aivazovsky produced around 6,000 paintings[14][25][15] "of very different value ... there are masterpieces and there are very timid works".[51] The vast majority of his works depict the sea.[52] He rarely drew dry-landscapes and created only a handful of portraits.[51] Aivazovsky "never painted his pictures from nature, always from memory, and far away from the seaboard."[53] "His artistic memory was legendary. He was able to reproduce what he had seen only for a very short time, without even drawing preliminary sketches."[14] His "truth to nature amazed his contemporaries, particularly his ability to convey the effect of moving water and of reflected sun and moonlight."[29]


He held fifty-five solo exhibitions (an unprecedented number)[54] over the course of his career. Among the most notable were held in Rome, Naples and Venice (1841–42), Paris (1843, 1890), Amsterdam (1844), Moscow (1848, 1851, 1886), Sevastopol (1854), Tiflis (1868), Florence (1874), St. Petersburg (1875, 1877, 1886, 1891), Frankfurt (1879), Stuttgart (1879), London (1881), Berlin (1885, 1890), Warsaw (1885), Constantinople (1888), New York (1893), Chicago (1893), San Francisco (1893).[28]

He also "contributed to the exhibitions of the Imperial Academy of Arts (1836–1900), Paris Salon (1843, 1879), Society of Exhibitions of Works of Art (1876–83), Moscow Society of Lovers of the Arts (1880), Pan-Russian Exhibitions in Moscow (1882) and Nizhny Novgorod (1896), World Exhibitions in Paris (1855, 1867, 1878), London (1863), Munich (1879) and Chicago (1893) and the international exhibitions in Philadelphia (1876), Munich (1879) and Berlin (1896)."[28]

Stormy Sea in Night (1849)


A primarily Romantic painter, Aivazovsky used some Realistic elements.[55] Aivazovsky "remained faithful to this movement [Romanticism] all his life, even though he oriented his work toward the Realist genre."[16] His early works are influenced by his Academy of Arts teachers Maxim Vorobiev and Sylvester Shchedrin.[25] Classic painters like Salvator Rosa, Jacob Isaacksz van Ruisdael and Claude Lorrain contributed to Aivazovsky's individual process and style.[17] Karl Bryullov, best known for his The Last Day of Pompeii, "played an important part in stimulating Aivazovsky's own creative development".[29][25] Ayvazovsky's best paintings in the 1840s–1850s used a variety of colors and were both epic and romantic in theme.[17] "Towards the 1850s the romantic features in Aivazovsky’'s work became increasingly pronounced."[51] "His Ninth Wave, usually considered his masterpiece, seems to mark the transition between fantastic color of his earlier works, and the more truthful vision of the later years."[56] By the 1870s, his paintings were dominated by delicate colors; and in the last two decades of his life, Aivazovsky created a series of silver-toned seascapes.[17]

The distinct transition in Russian art from Romanticism to Realism in the mid-nineteenth century left Aivazovsky, who would always retain a Romantic style, open to criticism. Proposed reasons for his unwillingness or inability to change began with his location; Feodosia was a remote town in the huge Russian empire, far from Moscow and Saint Petersburg. His mindset and worldview were similarly considered old-fashioned, and did not correspond to the developments in Russian art and culture.[31] Vladimir Stasov only accepted his early works, while Alexandre Benois wrote in his The History of Russian Painting in the 19th Century that despite he was Vorobiev's student, Aivazovsky stood apart from the general development of the Russian landscape school.[31]

"Aivazovsky's mature work is usually on a large scale and contains dramatic plots. During the later period in the artist's creativity, his favorite themes depicted the romantic struggle between man and the elements in the form of the sea (The Rainbow, 1873), and so-called "blue marines" (The Bay of Naples in Early Morning, 1897, Disaster, 1898) and urban landscapes (Moonlit Night on the Bosphorus, 1894)."[25]


Armenian themes

The Baptism of the Armenian People (1892)

Aivazovsky's early works incorporated Armenian themes. The artist's longstanding wish to visit his ancestral homeland was fulfilled in 1868. During his visit to Russian (Eastern) Armenia (roughly corresponding to the modern Republic of Armenia, as opposed to Western Armenia under Ottoman rule), Aivazovsky created paintings of Mount Ararat, the Ararat plain, and Lake Sevan. Although Mt. Ararat has been depicted in paintings of many non-native artists (mostly European travelers), Aivazovsky became the first Armenian artist to illustrate the two-peaked biblical mountain.[57][31]

He resumed the creation of Armenian-related paintings in the 1880s: Valley of Mount Ararat (1882), Ararat (1887), Descent of Noah from Ararat (1889).[57] The unique Valley of Mount Ararat contains Aivazovksy's signature in Armenian: "Aivazian" (Այվազեան).[57][32] In a panorama of Venice expressed by Byron's Visit to the Mekhitarists on St Lazarus Island in Venice (1898); the foreground of the picture contains members of the Armenian Congregation giving an enthusiastic welcome to the poet.[58]

His other themed works from this period include rare portraits of notable Armenians, such as his brother Archbishop Gabriel Aivazovsky (1882), Count Mikhail Loris-Melikov (1888), Catholicos Mkrtich Khrimian (1895), Nakhichevan-on-Don Mayor Аrutyun Khalabyan and others.[57][31]

The Baptism of Armenians and Oath Before the Battle of Avarayr (both 1892) depict the two single most memorable events of ancient Armenia: the Christianization of Armenia via baptism of King Tiridates III (early 4th century), and the Battle of Avarayr of 451.[31]


Several Aivazovsky paintings displayed (left) at the State Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg.
Wave (1889), one of the paintings exhibited

Ivan Aivazovsky is one of the few Russian artists to achieve wide recognition during their lifetime.[25][16][61] The Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary explicitly described him as the "best Russian marine painter" (лучший русский маринист) in 1890.[62]

Today, he is considered as one of the most prominent marine artists of the 19th century,[44][63][64] and, overall, one of the greatest marine artists in Russia and the world.[12][35][65][66][67][68] He was also one of the few Russian artists to become famous outside Russia.[69][70][71] In 1898, Munsey's Magazine wrote that Aivazovsky is "better known to the world at large than any other artist of his nationality, with the exception of the sensational Verestchagin".[72] Although according to Janet Whitmore he is relatively unknown in the west.[41]

Ivan Kramskoi, one of the most prominent Russian artists of the nineteenth century, praised him thus: "Aivazovsky is—no matter who says what—a star of first magnitude, and not only in our [country], but also in history of art in general."[6] Another Russian painter, Alexandre Benois, suggested that "Aivazovsky stands apart from the general history of the Russian school of landscape painting."[54] The State Russian Museum website continues, "It is hard to find another figure in the history of Russian art enjoying the same popularity among amateur viewers and erudite professionals alike."[54]

In nineteenth-century Russia, his name became a synonym for art and beauty. The phrase "worthy of Aivazovsky's brush" was the standard way of describing something ineffably lovely. It was first used by Anton Chekhov in his 1897 play Uncle Vanya.[13] In response to Marina Timofeevna's (the old nurse) query about the fight between Ivan Voynitsky ("Uncle Vanya") and Aleksandr Serebryakov, Ilya Telegin says that it was "A sight[3] worthy of Aivazovsky's brush" (Сюжет, достойный кисти Айвазовского Syuzhet, dostoyniy kisti Ayvazovskovo).[76]

In Armenia

Aivazovsky has always been considered an Armenian painter in his ancestral homeland[31] and virtually always referred to there by his original Armenian name, Hovhannes.[77] Aivazovsky is highly regarded in Armenia and his significance in Armenian art is greatly valued.[57] He was the "most remarkable" Armenian painter of the 19th century,[5] and the first ever Armenian marine painter.[78] He was born outside Armenia proper, and like his contemporaries, including Panos Terlemezian, and Vardges Sureniants, Aivazovsky lived outside his homeland, drawing primary influences from European and Russian schools of art. His creativity and viewpoint have been attributed to his uniquely Armenian roots. According to Sureniants, he sought to create a union which would have brought together all Armenian artists around the world.[31] The prominent Armenian poet Hovhannes Tumanyan wrote a short poem titled "In front of Aiazovsky's painting" («Այվազովսկու նկարի առջև») in 1893. It is inspired by painting of the sea by Aivazovsky, mostly likely from the 1870s–1890s.[79]


Aivazovsky was the most influential seascape painter in nineteenth-century Russian art.[80] According to the Russian Museum, "he was the first and for a long time the only representative of seascape painting" and "all other artists who painted seascapes were either his own students or influenced by him."[54]

Arkhip Kuindzhi (1841/2–1910) is cited as having been influenced by Aivazovsky.[81] In 1855, at age 13-14, Kuindzhi visited Feodosia to study with Aivazovsky, however, he was engaged merely to mix paints[82] and instead studied with Adolf Fessler, Aivazovsky's student.[83] A 1903 encyclopedic article stated: "Although Kuindzhi cannot be called a student of Aivazovsky, the latter had without doubt some influence on him in the first period of his activity; from whom he borrowed much in the manner of painting."[84] John E. Bowlt wrote that "the elemental sense of light and form associated with Aivazovsky's sunsets, storms, and surging oceans permanently influenced the young Kuindzhi."[82]

Aivazovsky also influenced Russian painters Lev Lagorio, Mikhail Latri, and Aleksey Ganzen (the last two were his grandsons).[33]


Aivazovsky's monument in front of his house (now an art gallery) in Feodosia

Aivazovsky's house in Feodosia, where he had founded an art museum in 1880, is open to this day as the Aivazovsky National Art Gallery. It remains a central attraction in the city[41] and holds the world's largest collections (417) of Aivazovsky paintings.[37]

Posthumous honors

The statue of Aivazovsky in Yerevan, Armenia

Monuments in Crimea, Armenia and Russia stand in Aivazovsky's memory. A statue of the artist can be found in front of the Feodosia Art Gallery, his former home. A statue of Aivazovsky and his brother Gabriel is located in Simferopol, Crimea's administrative center.[85] Aivazovsky's first statue in his ancestral homeland was unveiled in Yerevan in 2003.[86] Aivazovsky's first and only statue in Russia was erected in 2007 in Kronstadt, near Saint Petersburg.[87]

An avenue in Feodosia (uk), streets in Moscow (ru),[88] Yerevan,[89] and Minsk;[90] an alley in Kiev (uk)[91] and in many smaller cities: all are named after Aivazovsky. A three-star hotel in Odessa, where dozens of his works are displayed, is named for him as well.[92] The Soviet Union (1950),[93] Romania (1971),[94][95] Madagascar (1988),[96] Armenia (first in 1992),[97] Russia (1995),[98] Ukraine (1999),[99] Abkhazia (1999),[100] Moldova (2010),[101] Kyrgyzstan (2010),[102] Burundi (2012),[103] and Mozambique (2013)[104] have issued postage stamps depicting Aivazovsky or his works.[94]

The minor planet 3787 Aivazovskij was discovered by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Chernykh in 1977.[105]

Several paintings of Aivazovsky from the National Gallery of Armenia hang in Presidential Palace in Yerevan.[106]

In 2007 when Abdullah Gül became president of Turkey, he redecorated the presidential palace—Çankaya Köşkü in Ankara—and brought paintings by Aivazovsky up from the basement to hang in his office.[107] According to Hürriyet Daily News 30 paintings of Aivazovsky are on display in museums in Turkey.[108]


Aivazovsky's paintings began appearing in auctions (mostly in London) in the early 2000s. His works have risen steadily in auction value.[109] Many of his works are bought by Russian oligarchs.[110] In 2004, his Saint Isaac's Cathedral On A Frosty Day, a rare cityscape, unexpectedly sold for around £1 million ($1.9 million).[111] In 2007, his painting American Shipping off the Rock of Gibraltar auctioned at £2.71 million, "more than four times its top estimate". It was, "the highest price paid at auction for Aivazovsky" at the time.[112] In April 2012, a canvas belonging to the artist View of Constantinople and the Bosphorus (1856) was sold at Sotheby's for a record $5.2 million (£3.2 million),[113] "well over its top estimate of £1.8m".[114]

In June 2015 Sotheby's withdrew from auction an 1870 Aivazovsky painting Evening in Cairo, which was estimated at £1.5–2 million ($2–$3 million), after the Russian Interior Ministry claimed that it was stolen in 1997 from a private collection in Moscow.[115][116]


Russian Table of Ranks[28]
  • 1870 — Actual Civil Councilor (Действительный статский советник)
  • 1885 — Privy Councilor (Тайный советник)
  • 1896 — Actual Privy Councilor (Действительный тайный советник)


French Empire Legion of Honor (Chevalier) 1857[41]
 Ottoman Empire Order of the Medjidie 1858
Kingdom of Greece Order of the Redeemer 1859
 Russian Empire Order of St. Vladimir 1865
 Ottoman Empire Order of Osmanieh 1874
Kingdom of Poland Order of the White Eagle 1893
 Russian Empire Order of St. Alexander Nevsky 1897

See also


  1. ^ The Crimean peninsula is de jure part of Ukraine as the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, however, it is de facto controlled by Russia as the Republic of Crimea.
  2. ^ Virtually all Armenian, some Russian[4] and English[5] sources, referred to him as Hovhannes Ayvazovski (Armenian: Հովհաննես Այվազովսկի; Russian: Ован(н)ес Айвазовский Ovan(n)es Aivazovsky).[6][7] The artist signed some of his paintings and letters in Armenian.[8] For instance, his signatures in both in Armenian (Այվազեան) and Russian (Айвазовскій) appear on Valley of Mount Ararat (1882).[9] In Ukraine, where he is sometimes considered a Ukrainian painter,[10][11] his name is spelled Іва́н Костянти́нович Айвазо́вський Iván Kostyantýnovych Ay̆vazóvsʹkyy̆.
  3. ^ Alternatively translated as "scene",[73] "subject",[74] or "picture".[75]
  1. ^ Pilikian, Khatchatur I. (23 July 1990). "Turner-Aivazovsky: An Auspicious Encounter" (PDF). Aivazovsky International Symposium. Theodosia, Crimea. Retrieved 21 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "И. К. Айвазовский. Автопортрет. 1874 [I. K. Aivazovsky. Self-Portrait. 1874]" (in Русский). Center of Spiritual Culture, Leading and National Research Samara State Aerospace University. Archived from the original on 19 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "Magie du paysage russe. Chefs-d’oeuvre de la Galerie nationale Trétiakov, Moscou".  
  4. ^ The  
  5. ^ a b c  
  6. ^ a b c "Иван Айвазовский – великий маринист [Ivan Aivazovsky – great marinist]" (in Русский).  
  7. ^ "1991–2011 – Национальная галерея Армении [1991–2011 National Gallery of Armenia]" (in Русский).  
  8. ^ Adamian 1958, p. 89.
  9. ^ a b Harutiunian 1965, p. 93.
  10. ^ Aivazovsky was included in Gnatiuk, Mikhail A.; et al. (2001). Сто великих украинцев [100 Greatest Ukrainians] (in Русский). Kiev: Orfey.  
  11. ^ "Aivazovsky, Ivan".  
  12. ^ a b "Aivazovsky's View of Venice leads Russian art auction at $1.6m".  
  13. ^ a b c Karlinsky, Simon (1999). Anton Chekhov's Life and Thought: Selected Letters and Commentary. Heim, Michael Henry; Karlinsky, Simon (2nd ed.). Evanston, Illinois:  
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Rogachevsky, Alexander. "Ivan Aivazovsky (1817–1900)".  
  15. ^ a b Sarkssian 1963, p. 26.
  16. ^ a b c d e Leek 2012, p. 178.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h Ghazarian 1974, pp. 350–351
  18. ^ Harutiunian 1965, p. 89.
  19. ^ Petrov, Pyotr (1887). Указатель к Сборнику матеріалов для исторіи Императорской С.-Петербургской Академіи художеств за сто лѣт ея существованія [Index to the collection of materials for the history of the Imperial St. Petersburg Academy of Arts for 100 years of its existence] (in Русский). St. Petersburg: M. M. Stasulevich. p. 51. 
  20. ^ "AIVAZOVKSY, Ivan (1817–1900). Autograph letter signed ('Giovani Aivazovsky') to Auguste Vecchy, St Petersburg, 28 August 1844, in eccentric Italian".  
  21. ^ Mikaelian 1991, p. 69.
  22. ^ a b c Sarkssian 1963, p. 25.
  23. ^ a b Mikaelian 1991, p. 59.
  24. ^ Bobkov, V. V. (2010). "Феодосийский Градоначальник Александр Иванович Казначеев: Основные Вехи Административной Деятельности [Feodosia Mayor Alexander Ivanovich Kaznacheyev: Major Milestones In Administrative Activities]" (PDF) (in Русский). Simferopol:  
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h "Ayvazovskiy (Gayvazovskiy), Ivan (Oganes) Konstantinovich". The State Tretyakov Gallery. Archived from the original on 13 December 2013. 
  26. ^ Briggs, A.D.P., ed. (1999). Alexander Pushkin: a celebration of Russia's best-loved writer. London: Hazar Publishing. p. 219.  
  27. ^ "Sotheby's Russian Art Evening sale" (PDF).  
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u "Hovhannes Aivazovsky". The Premier Site for Russian Culture. Archived from the original on 18 December 2013. 
  29. ^ a b c d Bolton 2010, p. 140.
  30. ^ a b c d Bolton 2010, p. 141.
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Khachatrian "The Sea Poet"
  32. ^ a b c Mikaelian 1991, p. 63.
  33. ^ a b Gomtsyan, Natalia (11 September 2015). "Айвазовский и его окружение".  
  34. ^ Shaljyan, Emma (March 2012). "Walter and Laurel Karabian Speak on Artist Aivazian (Aivazovsky)". Hye Sahrzoom, Armenian Studies Program  
  35. ^ a b "Ivan Aivazovsky, Seascape at Sunset, 1841" (PDF).  
  36. ^ Bird, Alan (1987). A history of Russian painting. Boston: G.K. Hall. p. 162.  
  37. ^ a b c d Obukhovska, Liudmyla (7 August 2012). "To a good genius ... Feodosiia marked the 195th anniversary of Ivan Aivazovsky's birth".  
  38. ^ Harutiunian 1965, pp. 90–91: "Բռնակալության դեմ ի նշան բողոքի, նա բոլոր շքանշանները նետում է ծովը և ապա երիտասարդի աշխուժությամբ դնում է թուրքական հյուպատոսի մոտ ու զայրացած ասում. «Արյունակզակ տիրոջդ ինձի տված պատվանշանները ծովր նետեցի, ահավասիկ անոնց ժապավենները, իրեն ղրկել եթե կուզե թող ինքն ալ իմ պատկերներս ծովը նետե, բայց հոդս չէ, վասն զի անոնց փոխարժեքը ստացուած եմ»։ Ու կը մեկնի։
  39. ^ Koorghinian 1967, p. 190.
  40. ^ Sarkssian 1963, p. 31.
  41. ^ a b c d Whitmore, Janet. "Ivan K. Aivazovsky".  
  42. ^ Novouspensky, Nikolay. "Ivan Aivazovsky". 
  43. ^ "Моря пламенный поэт. Иван Айвазовский" (in Русский).  
  44. ^ a b c "Ivan Constantinovich Aivazovsky".  
  45. ^ Yefremova, Svetlana (24 July 2008). Оставил о себе бессмертную память. Respublika Krym (in Русский). Archived from the original on 29 December 2013. 
  46. ^ "Այվազովսկի Հովհաննես Կոստանդնի [Aivazovsky Hovhannes Konstandni]" (in Հայերեն).  
  47. ^ Minasyan, Artavazd M.; Gevorkyan, Aleksadr V. (2008). How Did I Survive?. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 56.  
  48. ^ "The Ninth Wave".  
  49. ^ "Aivazovsky, I. K. The Ninth Wave. 1850".  
  50. ^ Amirzyanova, Guzel (28 July 2013). Семь знаменитых картин Айвазовского.  
  51. ^ a b c "Ivan Constantinovich Aivazovsky". The Athenaeum: Interactive Humanities Online. Archived from the original on 15 December 2013. 
  52. ^ Leek 2012, pp. 178–180.
  53. ^ Newmarch 1917, p. 192.
  54. ^ a b c d "Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (1817–1900)".  
  55. ^ Koorghinian 1967, p. 189.
  56. ^ Newmarch 1917, p. 191.
  57. ^ a b c d e Sarkssian 1963, p. 28.
  58. ^ Cardwell 2005, p. 402.
  59. ^ "Նոյն իջնում է Արարատից (1889) [Descent of Noah from Ararat (1889)]" (in Հայերեն).  
  60. ^ Բայրոնի այցը Մխիթարյաններին Սբ. Ղազար կղզում (1899) (in Հայերեն). National Gallery of Armenia. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  61. ^ According to Aleksey Savinov, an art expert at the Pushkin Museum, see Smirnov, Dmitriy (9 April 2009). "Олигархи покупают Айвазовского по квадратным сантиметрам [Oligarchs buying Aivazovsky's painting by square centimeters]". Komsomolskaya Pravda (in Русский). Retrieved 16 December 2013. Он был знаменит еще при жизни, он был любимым художником Николая II.
    He [Aivazovsky] was famous during his lifetime, he was the favorite artist of Nicholas II.
  62. ^ "Айвазовский".  
  63. ^ "Russian Art Sale".  
  64. ^ Chekhonin, O.; Chekhonina, Svetlana; Matafonov, Vadim Stepanovich; Ivashevskaya, Galina (2003). Three centuries of Russian painting (2nd ed.). St. Petersburg: Kitezh Art Publishers.  
  65. ^ "Ayvazovskiy (Gayvazovskiy), Ivan (Oganes) Konstantinovich".  
  66. ^ Bowater, Marina (1990). Collecting Russian art & antiques.  
  67. ^ "Aivazovsky exhibition in St. Petersburg".  
  68. ^ "Russian Art and Architecture".  
  69. ^ "В Вене открылась уникальная выставка работ Ивана Айвазовского [A unique exhibition of works of Ivan Aivazovsky opened in Vienna]". Izvestia (in Русский). 17 March 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2013. В ХIХ веке Айвазовский, создавший за свою долгую творческую жизнь около 6 тысяч работ, пользовался огромной популярностью не только в России. Его имя было прекрасно известно любителям живописи в Европе и за океаном.
    In the nineteenth century, Aivazovsky, who created about 6 thousand works for his long creative life, was very popular not only in Russia. His name was well known to art lovers in Europe and across the ocean.
  70. ^ Newmarch 1917, pp. 193–194: "one of the few Russian artists whose talent was generally recognized abroad."
  71. ^ A 1892  
  72. ^ "Artists and Their Work".  
  73. ^ Chekhov, Anton (2010). "Act Four". Five Plays. Brodskaya, Marina (translator). Palo Alto:  
  74. ^  
  75. ^ Soviet Literature (Moscow:  
  76. ^ "Сюжет, достойный кисти Айвазовского" (in Русский). Russian Educational Portal,  
  77. ^ Mahdesian, Arshag D., ed. (1915). "Hovannes Aivazovsky (A Biographical Sketch)".  
  78. ^ Sarkissian 1967, p. 70.
  79. ^  
  80. ^ "Ayvazovskiy (Gayvazovskiy), Ivan (Oganes) Konstantinovich". The State Tretyakov Gallery. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  81. ^ "Куинджи, Архип Иванович" (in Русский).  
  82. ^ a b  
  83. ^ Manin, Vitaly (2000). Архип Куинджи (in Русский). Moskva: Belyĭ gorod. p. 6.  
  84. ^ "Куинджи Архип Иванович".   online view
  85. ^ See the photo of the statue of Aivazovsky brothers
  86. ^ "Monuments of Yerevan". Yerevan Municipality Official Website. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  87. ^ "В Кронштадте откроют первый в России памятник Ивану Айвазовскому [First statue of Ivan Aivazovsky in Russia to be opened in Kronstadt" (in Русский).  
  88. ^ улица Айвазовского (in Русский). Informative Site of the City of Moscow. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  89. ^ "Ayvazovskiy St Yerevan, Armenia".  
  90. ^ улица Айвазовского (in Русский). Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  91. ^ пер. Айвазовского Киев, город Киев, Украина (in Русский). Google Maps. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  92. ^ "Ayvazovsky hotel". Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  93. ^ A 1950 stamp of the Soviet Union depicting Aivazovsky
  94. ^ a b Kuzych, Ingert (6 August 2000). "Focus on Philately: Aivazovsky stamps".  
  95. ^ "Romania 1971 Aivazovsky stamp".  
  96. ^ "Repoblika Demokratika Malagasy 1988 Paositra". Foto. 
  97. ^ 1992, 1995
  98. ^ 1995 stamp
  99. ^ 1999, 2005
  100. ^ 1999
  101. ^ Иван Айвазовский – 110-летие смерти (in Русский). Moldova Stamps. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  102. ^ 2010
  103. ^ "Ivan Aivazovsky Burundi stamp".  
  104. ^ "2013 stamp of Mozambique of Ivan Aivazovsky's pairings".  
  105. ^  
  106. ^ "Demonstration Areas". Office to the President of the Republic of Armenia. 
  107. ^ Marchand, Laure; Perrier, Guillaume (2015). Turkey and the Armenian Ghost: On the Trail of the Genocide. McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 129.  
  108. ^ "Naval Museum hosts leading marine artist Aivazovsky".  
  109. ^  
  110. ^ "The Oligarts: How Russia's very rich are buying up the World's very best art".  
  111. ^ Айвазовский идет на новый рекорд.  
  112. ^  
  113. ^ "Aivazovsky Painting Sold for Record $5.2 mln".  
  114. ^ Adam, Georgina (28 April 2012). "The Art Market: Munch and more".  
  115. ^ "Sotheby's Removes Allegedly Stolen Russian Painting from Sale".  
  116. ^ Golubkova, Katya (2 June 2015). "Sotheby's withdraws sale of Russian painting alleged stolen". Reuters. 


  • Adamian, A (1958). "Նոր վավերագրեր նկարիչ Հովհաննես Այվազովսկու մասին [New documentaries about the artist Hovhannes Ayvazovsky]". Bulletin of the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR: Social Sciences (in Հայերեն) (Yerevan:  
  • Sarkssian, M. S. (1963). "Հովհաննես Այվազովսկին և հայ մշակույթը [Hovhannes Ayvazovsky and Armenian Culture]".  
  • Koorghinian, K. N. (1967). "Հովհաննես Այվազովսկի (Ծննդյան 150-ամյակի առթիվ) [Hovhannes Ayvazovsky]". Patma-Banasirakan Handes (in Հայերեն) (Yerevan: Armenian Academy of Sciences) (2–3): 187–194. 
  • Sarkissian, M. (1967). "Հովհ. Այվազովսկու տեղը և նշանակությունը հայ նկարչության մեջ [The Place and Importance of Aivazovsky in the History of the Armenian Painting of the 19th century]".  
  • Harutiunian, Gr. (1965). "Հովհաննես Այվազովսկու տոհմի ծագումնաբանությունը և ազգանվան փոփոխումը [Hovhannes Aivazovsky family genealogy and family name change]". Bulletin of the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR: Social Sciences (in Հայերեն) (Yerevan: Armenian Academy of Sciences) (2): 89–94. 
  • Ghazarian, Manya (1974). "Այվազովսկի [Aivazovsky]".  
  • Sarkissian, M. S. (1988). "Հովհաննես Այվազովսկու "Բայրոնի այցը Մխիթարյաններին Ս. Ղազար կղզում" նկարը [Hovhannes Aivazovsky's Painting "Byron's Arrival to Mekhitarists on the Island of St. Lazar".]". Patma-Banasirakan Handes (in Հայերեն) (Armenian Academy of Sciences) (2): 224–226.  
  • Mikaelian, V. A. (1991). "И. К. Айвазовский и его соотечественники [H. K. Ayvazovsky and his compatriots]". Lraber Hasarakakan Gitutyunneri (in Русский) (Yerevan: Armenian Academy of Sciences) (1): 59–70.  
  • Cardwell, Richard (2005). Reception of Byron in Europe. London:  
  • Bolton, Roy (2010). Views of Russia & Russian Works on Paper. London: Sphinx Fine Art.  
  • Leek, Peter (2012). Russian Painting. Temptis. New York: Parkstone International.  

Further reading

  • Айвазовский И.К. Документы и материалы [I. K. Aivazovsky: Documents and Materials] (in Русский). Yerevan: Hayastan Publishing. 1967. 
  • Barsamov, Nikolay (1962). Иван Константинович Айвазовский, 1817—1900 (in Русский). Moscow:  
  • Novouspensky, Nikolai, ed. (1989). Aivazovsky. Leningrad: Aurora Art Publishers.  
  • Caffiero, Gianni; Samarine, Ivan (2000). Seas, Cities & Dreams, The Paintings of Ivan Aivazovsky. London: Alexandria Press.  
  • Bulkeley, Rip (March 2015). "Aivazovsky's Icebergs: an Antarctic mystery".  
  • Lyall, Sutherland (2005). Waters of Life: The Russian Painters of Water. New Line Books.  

External links

Galleries of Aivazovsky's paintings
  • National Gallery of Armenia
  • Russian Art Encyclopedia
  • The Athenaeum
  • Old Istanbul paints at Organization of Istanbul Armenians
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