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Iwan Konstantinowitsch Aiwasowski Golf von Neapel, 1841 Öl auf Leinwand, 72,6 x 108,5 cm Museen Peterhof, Sankt Petersburg © Aiwasowski Galerie, Feodossia


Ivan Konstantinovitch Aivazovsky

Painter of the Sea

17.03.2011 - 10.07.2011

Iwan Konstantinowitsch Aiwasowski Die neunte Woge, 1850 Öl auf Leinwand, 221 x 332 cm Staatliches Russisches Museum, Sankt Petersburg © Aiwasowski Galerie, FeodossiaIwan Konstantinowitsch Aiwasowski Das Schiff »Maria« im Sturm, 1892 Öl auf Leinwand, 224 x 354 cm Aiwasowski-Galerie, Feodossija © Aiwasowski Galerie, FeodossiaIwan Konstantinowitsch Aiwasowski Golf von Neapel in einer Mondnacht, 1842 Öl auf Leinwand, 91 x 142 cm Aiwasowski-Galerie, Feodossija © Aiwasowski Galerie, FeodossiaIwan Konstantinowitsch Aiwasowski Sinope. Die Nacht nach der Schlacht am 18. November 1853, 1853 Öl auf Leinwand, 220 x 331 cm Zentrales Kriegsmarinemuseum, Sankt Petersburg © Aiwasowski Galerie, Feodossia

The Bank Austria Kunstforum will be presenting a premiere in spring 2011 - the breathtaking work of the Russian painter Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (1817-1900): Aivazovsky was a living legend, celebrated in international exhibitions and is today a household word in Russia. Yet he is for the most part unknown beyond his national boundaries.

Aivazovsky was born in the port of Feodosia (today the Ukraine) on the Crimean peninsula. He studied painting at the Imperial Academy in St Petersburg and became court painter to Tsar Nicholas I. He was much travelled – he accompanied Tsarist military troops as a marine painter – but he was always drawn back to his home on the Black Sea.

The elemental might of the sea is a central subject in Aivazovsky’s great oeuvre. For Aivazovsky, it is the ocean that nourishes all life, but which possesses cataclysmic power. The painter does not wish to show a freeze-frame of the subject, but far more express a generally applicable statement: the symbolism of a ship on the high seas is an allegory of human life. Becalmed, sun-and moon-reflecting waters alternate with billowing storm and turbulent spume. Forming an equal part of his repertoire are maritime coasts and land strips, urban views, ship manoeuvres, mythological scenes and gigantic wave pictures catapulting the beholder into the scene. Aivazovsky dashed light, water and air at a helter-skelter work tempo onto large-format canvases. He was often compared to William Mallord Turner because of this: the two artists did actually know each other’s work and held each other in high esteem. Like Turner, Aivazovsky did not work from nature but from memory.


Ivan Konstantinovitch Aivazovsky - Painter of the Sea is the first major Aivazovsky exhibition in a West European venue and shows a cross section of his spectacular oeuvre. Loans for this ambitious exhibition project are being contributed by the Aivazovsky Museum Feodosia, the State Russian Museum in St Petersburg and in Kiev, die Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow and numerous private collections.

curated by

Ingried Brugger

Lisa Ortner-Kreil



12/10/2011 - 15/01/2012

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Birgit Jürgenssen Retrospektive

16/12/2010 - 06/03/2011

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