Monday, January 23, 2012


           Ivan Aivazovsky, The Billow, 1889, oil on canvas, The Russian Museum.                               

BAY ART BLOG:  The Russian Museum,
                                             near the Azov Sea

   Inspired to paint bays? Then dive into the stormy waters of The Billow painted by one of the greatest maritime painters of all times, Ivan Aivazovsky. This masterpiece is one of 6,000 works created by the famous Russian painter known for his powerful and realistic seascapes. He painted a tragic story, with violent winds and churning waters beneath a dark, angry sky. The waters rage as the surge engulfs the vessel leaving a feeling of helplessness and respect for nature.

Ivan Aivazovsky by Aleksey Tyranov, 1847.
   Born in Feodosiya, Crimea, Aivazovsky was the son of an Armenian merchant and mother known for exquisite embroidery. His talent for drawing was seen at a young age as he drew with charcoal on the family's walls. His talent opened doors to prestigious art academies, travel and opportunities to paint for royalty. He won the Gold Medal at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts and became a wealthy man. He spent most of his eighty-three year life devoted to seascapes and painting the Russian Navy. He was also known as an art professor and eventually founded an art school in Feodosiya. Aivazovsky believed in painting from memory and was exceptional in marrying realism and romanticism.  

The Azov Sea near Aivazovsky's home.
Feodosiya shoreline.  
  Feodosiya, sometimes spelled Theodosia is located in Ukraine between the Black Sea and the Azov Sea known as the shallowest sea in the world with depth from 2'11" to 46". The 200 mile sea is affected by neighboring rivers pushing sand, silt, shells and freshwater into it's benthos resulting in small lagoons, low salinity and the perfect environment for green algae blooms. It is home to over 80 fish species and 300 invertebrates. In the past dolphin frequented, but the river flow has changed over time due to construction, dams, overfishing and high levels of pollution due to the booming cotton industry.
  The Russian Museum, located in St. Petersburg, is Russia's first state museum of fine art. It was established in 1895 by Emperor Nicholas II and opened to the public in 1898. It houses over 400,000 works and is famous for it's paint galleries.

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