Black Sea - Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky. 149 x 208 cm
Not every artist is given the mastery of reproducing natural elements - air, fire, water. Ivan Konstantinovich was immensely endowed with the ability to portray the sea - perhaps none of his contemporaries could cope with large-scale paintings on the marine theme better than him.
The canvas at first sight impresses with a spectacular depiction of the violence of the elements. Looking at it, the reason why the Black Sea got its name immediately becomes clear. Peaceful and affectionate, blue-green and calm in good weather, in a storm this sea turns into a roaring wild beast.
In its abyss many ships found their end for a long era of shipping in this area of the world. A hint of this is the tiny image of a ship on the horizon, barely noticeable behind the turbulent shafts of water. It is not clear to us whether the ship is in distress, or whether it copes with the ferocious elements, since it is very far from us, almost at the border of heaven and earth. But, knowing the harsh and unpredictable nature of the Black Sea, you can only sympathize with the sailors who fell into the storm on it.
The famous painting shows the moment when the storm is just beginning. Before the billowing shafts reach their critical height, it is still far, but the water has already poured a deep leaden hue, and the crests of the waves show a storm beginning. Even a person who just looks at the canvas begins to literally physically feel this pitching, because the wave pattern is conveyed with skill that borders on magic.
The color scheme of the picture is dark, muffled, quite saturated and rich, but not having a single bright or “open” shade. The whole composition is built on halftones, which should make the waves sparkle with the vibrant colors of water into the storm. The sky is written under the steel waves. It is completely covered by heavy, as if poured by clouds clouds, threatening lingering rain and a dangerous thunderstorm. To be in such weather in the middle of the open sea is mortally dangerous. And only in the distance, near the horizon, the artist wrote a light strip, above which white safe clouds swirl. Perhaps it is there, beyond the horizon, covered by clouds, that the longed-for saving land is located, where a small boat, lost in the terrible, formidable waters of the Black Sea, is struggling to reach.
The general impression of the canvas is the incredible, crushing power of the elements, which has lurked for the time being and has not played out in full force. But soon, soon a storm will break ...