Alea iacta est


  • Battle of Chesma (c. 1848)
  • Battle of Navarino(c. 1846)
  • The Ninth Wave (c. 1850)
  • Storm at Sea(c. 1873)
  • Moonlit Seascape With Shipwreck(c. 1863)
  • Battle of Sinop(c. 1853)
  • Pushkin’s Farewell to the Sea(c. 1877)
  • The Portrait of Ivan Aivazovsky- Alexey Tyranov (c. 1841)

Aivazovsky, a Russian painter of Armenian origin, was probably the master of the seascape. He took the Romanticism sharpened by Friedrich, Shchedrin, and J.M.W. Turner and dug its burning branch of art into the frothing, icy waters of the Black or Aegean Sea. If Romanticism was a reply to existentialism, the counting of every single ember rather than ignore the tide of fire because your eyes are blinded by nihilism, then Aivazovsky etched oceans of raging hot torrents about every single flake’s face. 

His depictions of naval combat during the Crimean Wars and the subsequent Greek War of Independence evoke both natural admiration for the swashing, trashing sea swells and the echoing cannons’ bellow, until both their iron muzzles and their victims are drowned in watery abysses far greater than them. Aivazovsky’s works have minor odes to dramatic chiaroscuro, and others utilize a vigorous clashing of colors gushed with veracity: we are left with the magnificence of the ocean as both the precursor to and theme of every single one of his amazing artworks. 

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