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08.07–31.08.2017

The exhibition project “Aivazovsky and Marine Painters”, which is timed to the 200th anniversary of the birth of the famous landscape painter, is being implemented by the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus.

Aivazovsky once noted, – “...I has always been feeling the poetry of nature; I’m sensing it now, and I’m trying to convey it with my brush. The fascination of the southern night, the sky, the southern sunset, the horror, with which a soul is being attacked by a tempestuous storm or a hurricane, – these are the very feelings, by which I’m being inspired when I’m drawing my pictures”.  

While noting Aivazovsky’s romantic connotation, we often forget that the most active and the longest period of his creativity has fallen into the second half of the XIXth century. During these times the connoisseurs of beauty have often preferred the artworks performed by the painters seeking a more authentic way of showing nature at their canvases, and they did not pay any attention to the artist’s paintings. Therefore, Alexey Bogolyubov can be noted for an emotional restraint and the strictness of composition (“Parade of the Russian Navy”, 1888), as well as for impressionism in his canvases (“Fire in Kronstadt”, 1875). Valentin Serov’s “Amsterdam” (1885) is notable for its acuity and the immediacy of perception. In the artworks by Nikolay Dubovskoy, on the one hand, there is a palpable lightness (“Seaside. Steamboat. Schizzo”, 1900, “Seascape”, the 1910s), on the other hand – there is high tension (“The Sea”, 1914). In both cases the effect is being achieved through the colour performance.

Lev Lagorio, being Aivazovsky’s student, did not become the one who had developed a romantic, an exclusively academic tradition in art. Following a number of his contemporaries, he tended toward a greater simplicity of spatial construction and a calm colour gamut (“On the Seashore”, 1871, “Sea Coast”). Another Aivazovsky’s student – Gabrielo Bartolomeo Casessi – was closer to the academic tradition (“Lighthouse”, late 1870s – early 1880s), focusing on the effects of lighting and drawing technique. Pavel Tizengauzen (Paul von Tiesenhausen) also tended to academicism (“Tempest”, 1876) – he was a seascape painter characterized by a more expressive manner and a dynamic composition.

And yet, after a while, Ivan Aivazovsky has happened to become the biggest Russian marine painter, who once said: “The Sea is all my life”.  

Numerous canvases of the famous seascape painter comprise the encyclopaedia, where almost everything is said about the sea as such, about the variety of its states. Aivazovsky’s sea is now calm and peaceful (“Misty Morning”, 1853, “Marine Painting”, 1858, “Morning at the Sea”, 1883), and now fascinating and mysterious one (“Moonlit Night in Amalfi”, 1845, “A Night on the Rhodes”, 1850), then a terrible and raging one (“Storm”, 1852 and the restored marine dedicated to the exhibition “Storm on the Azov Sea in April of 1886”, 1887). Each of these states is being masterfully conveyed in a poetic way. “The theme of the picture is being formed in my memory, as the plot of a poet’s poem; after a water-colour sketch having been done on a piece of paper, I’m commencing my work and until then I do not leave the canvas till I express all my emotions with my brush”. Ivan Aivazovsky’s artworks are distinctive for the strong emotions and vivid feelings!

The exhibition is available for visits from July 8 to August 31, 2017.