St Petersburg celebrates Ivan Aivazovsky’s 200th birthday

The Ninth Wave. Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky, 1850. (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

A multimedia show and an exhibition in St Petersburg’s art spaces celebrate the genius of Ivan Aivazovsky on his 200th birthday. Prospekt Magazine visited both exhibitions to tell you how the city is remembering the Romantic painter.

In Russian history, the year 2017 does not only mark the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution, but also the 200th birth anniversary of one of the greatest marine artists, Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky.
Born in Crimea when the Russian Empire was still in existence, Aivazovsky dedicated his life to painting, and the study of the sea, his favorite subject.
The clearest proof of Aivazovsky’s extreme popularity is that the majority of his solo exhibitions took place during his lifetime, around 55, not just in his home country but also in Europe where he made several tours. His talent transcends different mediums, from oil painting to watercolor and drawing. The subjects and conceptual motifs of his most famous and celebrated works captured the romantic moods of society. But it is the sea, a sailor or a ship, the waves or a shipwreck, that inspired his sensitive observation.
Aivazovsky’s valuable works are mostly exhibited in the State Russian Museum and the Central Naval Museum of St Petersburg with six canvases donated by the artist himself in the 1860s and 1870s. Subsequent artworks can be found in the suburban museums of Peterhof and Tsarkoye Selo.

All-in-one: 150 works at the State Russian Museum

After a big exhibition dedicated to Aivazovsky at the Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery last year, it is now the St Petersburg’s State Russian Museum that is showcasing a large-scale monographic exhibition of the painter, named Ivan Aivazovsky. The 200th Anniversary of the Artist’s Birth. Running through March 20, around 150 paintings and graphic works are on display in the Benois Wing, including memorial materials, world-renowned masterpieces and less famous works coming from private collections.
Visitors have the chance to see Aivazovsky’s Bay of Naples, View of Crimea at Sunset, Moonlit night, the Battle of Sinop, The Explosion of the Turkish Ship and the famous Ninth Wave, all together to appreciate the talent of the artist.

Multimedia Aivazovsky, the other side of the paintings at Lumiere Hall

If you are not willing to queue up in a wintery day outside the Russian Museum, the creative space Lumiere Hall is a compromise to relax and enjoy Aivazovsky’s art. Located along the Obvodniy channel embankment, this old building, renovated a couple of years ago, offers a multimedia art experience that differs from other classic museums. Aivazovsky. Animated Paintings is the name of the new multimedia show dedicated to the Russian artist. Through 12 March every half an hour, from 11 am to 11 pm in the big and high showroom, the paintings are projected in a tridimensional sequence, accompanied by music and Aivazovsky captions. Here the visitor can relax by watching the show lying down on small sofas and retracing Aivazovsky’s life. His career and life are divided into different chapters, from his education and first visit to Europe to the return to Russia and later life.

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