Ivan Aivazovsky: La novena ola

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Ivan Aivazovsky: "The Ninth Wave"

Ivan Aivazovsky: "The Ninth Wave" - 1850 - oil on canvas - Saint Petersburg, State Museum

Born in Crimea in 1817, to an Armenian family, is arguably the most famous Russian seascape painter. The quality of his paintings made him one of the most respected artists in Russia, earning the Gold Medal at the Saint Petersburg Academy of Arts, and opening his own school at home town of Feodosiya. Aivazovsky painted more than 6,000 works, most notably the famous "The ninth wave", and a large group of large paintings glorifying the Russian navy. Today Aivazovsky is the most sought-after 19th century Russian painter, and his works are sold for more than $3 million at auctions.

"The ninth wave" is a true masterwork. Aivazovsky reaches in this painting an absolute technical perfection, representing a group of unlucky castaways trying to survive under the merciless charges in form of oceanic waves. Nevertheless, the centre of the composition is the powerful, almost mystical and diffuse representation of the sun, which illuminates the scene with a strange, oneiric range of green and pink shades. This painting is often called "the most beautiful painting in Russia"

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