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  • Ivan Aivazovsky
    Jul 29, 1817 - May 02, 1900
  • An Imperial Welcome at Sudak - Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky was an Armenian-Russian Romantic painter who is considered one of the greatest masters of marine art. Baptized as Hovhannes Aivazian, he was born into an Armenian family in the Black Sea port of Feodosia in Crimea and was mostly based there.
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An Imperial Welcome at Sudak
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  • An Imperial Welcome at Sudak

  • Ivan Aivazovsky
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  • 1867
    Oil on canvas

    In the summer of 1867 Empress Maria Alexandrovna, wife of Alexander II, was passing through Crimea with her children on the way to Constantinople. The present lot was painted after a charming episode of their return journey. A tremendous reception had been laid on for the Imperial family in Theodosia, involving costumed gondoliers, fireworks, flowers and pageantry. On the eve of his departure however, the Tsarevich expressed a wish to see Aivazovsky’s vineyard estate at Sudak since he had been told that it was a place of great beauty.

    Although the Tsarevich insisted no reception was required Aivazovsky decided otherwise, as the artist’s grandson recorded in his memoirs. In the night he dispatched some seventy horses and carts, laden with provisions, crockery, carpets, chefs, servants etc. to Sudak, with instructions to lay on a Tartar feast on the lawn for the Emperor’s children complete with costumed local musicians, dancers and bonfires.

    'Meanwhile Aivazovsky slipped away unobtrusively into the house, where with great speed he painted a picture in oils. This he sent off immediately to the 'Tiger’ (the Imperial yacht) and asked for it to be hung in the foremost cabin. When lunch was finished, having accompanied his royal guests to the yacht, much to their surprise they saw hanging in the cabin a painting depicting what they had just been watching. Then after warmly thanking Aivazovsky for such an original and varied reception, the Emperor’s children embarked for Livadia’.

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Other paintings by Ivan Aivazovsky:

American Shipping off the Rock of Gibraltar
American Shipping off the Rock of Gibraltar
Among the Waves
Among the Waves
An Ox-Drawn Cart on the Shore and a Swimmer in the Shallows
An Ox-Drawn Cart on the Shore and a Swimmer in the Shallows
Approximation of the Storm
Approximation of the Storm
Ivan AivazovskyIvan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (Hovannes Aivasian) was born on July 29, 1817, in Feodosia, Crimea, Russian Empire, into a poor Armenian family. His father was a modest Armenian trader. His mother was a traditional homemaker. His early talent as an artist earned him a scholarship to study at the Simferopol gymnasium. From 1833-1839 Aivasovsky studied at the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg, where he was a student of professor Mikhail Vorob'ev, and graduated with the Gold Medal.

Aivazovsky was sent to paint in Crimea and in Italy, being sponsored by the Russian Imperial Academy for 6 years from 1838-1844. His numerous paintings of Mediterranean seascapes won him popularity among art collectors, such as the Russian Czars, the Ottoman Sultan, and among the various nobility in many countries. His dramatic depiction of a sea storm with the survivors from a shipwreck, known as 'The Ninth Wave' (1850), made him extremely famous. The original canvas is in the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg. He also made many variations and repetitions of this particular painting, as well, as of his other popular works.

Aivazovsky produced over six thousand paintings of variable quality over the course of his long life. Most of his works were made on a longstanding commission from the Imperial Russian Navy Headquarters, where he worked for the most of his life, from the 1840s until 1900. He earned a considerable fortune, which he spent for charity, and also used for the foundation of the first School of Arts (in 1865) and the Art Gallery (in 1889) in his home town of Feodosia.

Aivazovsky was a member of Academies of Rome, Florence, Stuttgart and Amsterdam. He died on May 5, 1900, in Feodosia.