Unsinkable: storms and storms in the life of Aivazovsky

It seems that if Aivazovsky was not an artist, he could become a diplomat. Sometimes he himself, sometimes fate in the person of other people settled all the slippery and dangerous situations in which the artist fell. And he did! There were times when storms and storms seemed to threaten to spill over the canvas and sink Aivazovsky, but he managed to resist. Talk about the storms that almost broke out in his life, but were curbed.
Иван Айвазовский. Океан
Океан
1896, 67.5×100 см

Иван Айвазовский. Предательство Иуды
Предательство Иуды
1834, 41×56 см

How Aivazovsky’s career almost ended before he began


What happened: Court painter, French marine painter Philip Tannerreported to Nicholas I about the grave violation by the students of the Academy of Hovhannes Gayvazovsky of subordination - participation in an academic exhibition bypassing his mentor and disrespectful behavior.

What it threatened: Nicholas I ordered the pictures of the intruder to be removed from the exhibition, but this was not done. Gayvazovsky fell into disgrace, with horror he expected that he could be ruled out, and such an outcome was quite possible.

Details: The new academic year at the Academy began with the task of writing a picture on a biblical or gospel story. 17-year-old Hovhannes Gayvazovsky chose the theme of Judas' betrayal and so impressed with his work the president of the Academy of Arts Alexei Olenin that he not only singled out Hovhannes among other students, but even began to invite him to visit.
Александр Григорьевич Варнек. Портрет президента Академии художеств Алексея Николаевича Оленина
Портрет президента Академии художеств Алексея Николаевича Оленина
1824
Olenin's summer cottage was a place extremely popular among, as we would say today, the elite. At that time, the marine painter Philipp Tanner, kindly courted at the court, was just asking for an assistant, and Olenin sent a talented Crimean to him. Unlike Maxim Vorobiev, who taught Aivazovsky everything he could, Tanner was not at all eager to study
A study is an exercise painting that helps the painter better understand the object he or she paints. It is simple and clear, like sample letters in a school student’s copybook. Rough and ready, not detailed, with every stroke being to the point, a study is a proven method of touching the world and making a catalogue of it. However, in art history, the status of the study is vague and open to interpretation. Despite its auxiliary role, a study is sometimes viewed as something far more significant than the finished piece. Then, within an impressive frame, it is placed on a museum wall.
So, when does a study remain a mere drill, and when can we call it an artwork in its own right, full of life and having artistic value? Read more
, he first needed a servant. However, it would be unfair to assume that Aivazovsky did not learn anything from him. The learning process was probably not particularly enjoyable, but it was! Olenin in a letter to Professor Sauerweid writes: "... Mr. Gayvazovsky perfectly grasped the manner of writing the water and air of his last mentor, the painter Tanner, having managed to perfect his manner with an excellent imitation of nature! ”.

Hovhannes Gayvazovsky was sick, either from a completely inappropriate St. Petersburg climate, or from overvoltage. Nevertheless, he did not cancel the visit to Olenin planned in advance for the weekend, where he finally fell into a fever. Olenin was indignant, saying that the Frenchman pulled out all the wires from the student, and advised him not to return to Tanner anymore, but to prepare his own paintings for the upcoming academic exhibition. Recall that the advice came from the mouth of the head of the Academy, and it would be strange for a student not to obey the president.

Having not received any explanation about the disappearance of the assistant, Tanner harbored a grudge, which immediately broke through when it turned out that at the autumn exhibition "sick" Gayvazovsky presented five paintings. In addition to the fact that Tanner considered himself to be affected, since he lost his assistant, there was a gross violation of subordination: paintings of students for exhibitions were selected by tutors, Gayvazovsky’s mentor was Tanner, and he was neither hearing nor spirit. The fact that Gayvazovsky received the Silver Medal only aggravated the situation. It was then that Tanner complained to the emperor, who, more than any other infection, was afraid of violations of subordination. The sovereign ordered the pictures to be taken, but Olenin decided to take time - it is not clear, they say, either all the paintings by Gayvazovsky were in disfavor, or some concrete one. In other words, the conflict was a battle between the visiting artist Tanner and the president of the Academy, Olenin. Alas, young Hovhannes was injured in the case.

How Aivazovsky managed to survive: He was very worried about this situation, rumors that the intercession of various famous people did not bring any sense, exacerbated the suffering. At the same time, the story itself caused a wave of sympathy in different circles. For many, it looked like “our people are being beaten!”. He arrived, they say, a Frenchman, not only does he take away orders from Russian artists, he also scolded a talented student, he brought him under the royal disfavor. The fact that there was no fan of Nicholas I among the progressive public also played a role: the young man is ruining the talent, as he is! A big minus for Aivazovsky was Olenin's strange silence. He knew very well the ins and outs of the incident, but he was silent, expecting how it all would be decided. But the friends of Gayvazovsky were not silent. With a light hand Vasily Sternberg Tanner arranged a sad life: at the exhibitions when he appeared, students began to whistle and whistle. The story with the Frenchman became a kind of public relations for Aivazovsky, the whole Petersburg started talking about him, and rumors of dissatisfaction with Tanner reached the emperor (also public relations - an unintentional black one).
Богдан Павлович Виллевальде. Портрет А. И. Зауервейда
Портрет А. И. Зауервейда
XIX век
In the end, Nicholas I was tired of constant complaints about the Frenchman, and the sovereign sent him from Russia. It was about time to intercede for the disgraced student, and Professor Alexander Sauerweid, a teacher of drawing for the tsar’s children, set to work.

The decisive argument was that the student did not have the right to disobey the order of the president of the Academy to participate in the exhibition. Ah, subordination is not broken? Well, then Gayvazovsky is again in mercy. It is a pity that Olenin himself did not report this earlier. However, the main thing is that this wave did not knock down the young artist, who was then called Hovhannes Gaivazovsky, but taught that royal mercy is a very unreliable thing, and it would be better to look for other supports.
Иван Айвазовский. Десант Н. Н. Раевского у Субаши
Десант Н. Н. Раевского у Субаши
1839, 66×97 см

How Aivazovsky made an inappropriate acquaintance with the Decembrists


What happened: Aivazovsky, at the invitation of General Nikolai Raevsky and in agreement with the Academy of Arts, went with Raevsky to the Caucasus: to observe the real military operations of the fleet, to sketch
A study is an exercise painting that helps the painter better understand the object he or she paints. It is simple and clear, like sample letters in a school student’s copybook. Rough and ready, not detailed, with every stroke being to the point, a study is a proven method of touching the world and making a catalogue of it. However, in art history, the status of the study is vague and open to interpretation. Despite its auxiliary role, a study is sometimes viewed as something far more significant than the finished piece. Then, within an impressive frame, it is placed on a museum wall.
So, when does a study remain a mere drill, and when can we call it an artwork in its own right, full of life and having artistic value? Read more
the eastern shores on which it had not yet been. But something unplanned happened: he made acquaintance with disgraced Decembrists.

What it threatened: If the news reached the tsar, the naval authorities would most likely be limited to a reprimand, but Aivazovsky could be threatened with a second disgrace, and not the fact that the young artist who had barely recovered from the story with Tanner could "get out of the water" this time.

Details: For marine species presented at the academic exhibition “... Aivazovsky should be sent for improvement for the first two summers to the Crimea, to the Black Sea as a pensioner with maintenance abroad artists and then where at the discretion of the Academy will be recognized as useful "- These words meant for Aivazovsky the happiness of returning to their homeland, to Feodosia, to the sea.
Джордж Доу. Портрет Николая Николаевича Раевского
Портрет Николая Николаевича Раевского
1828, 70×62.5 см
However, in the parental house Aivazovsky did not stay long and soon went with General Raevsky to the Caucasus. With Raevsky, he was on the Colchis steamboat, and later went to the admiral Mikhail Lazarev who invited him to the Silistriya ship. Aivazov, a battle with Shapsugs, Aivazovsky will even be able to save and deliver a wounded officer to the orderlies. And in the evening he is invited to the tent to celebrate the victory. There he draws attention to three rank and file, with whom others communicate with special respect. So Aivazovsky met the Decembrists Alexander Odoevsky, Nikolai Lorer and Mikhail Naryshkin ...

What helped Aivazovsky not to go down: The next day, General Rayevsky demanded neither light nor dawn, which faced a very difficult diplomatic task. A student of the Academy, who has just left the opal, is present here almost like a civilian artist making acquaintance with three Decembrists! The scandal! Raevsky also doesn’t take the blame from himself: he greeted the little-handed boy, allowed him to move to the flagship, but did not teach the secular state “safety technique”. And if he comes to the tsar? We need to urgently send Aivazovsky! But how to tell him so as not to frighten and upset? And so as not to decide that Raevsky gets rid of him as useless and mediocre? The general makes a Solomon decision: sends Aivazovsky to Abkhazia. Sent to write the Caucasus? So let him write! From secular dangers away.

Later, the artist’s stay in Crimea was extended, he himself was promoted to the rank of academician, then professor. In the capital, he will be caressed, his paintings in the house will be considered a good form. And the sovereign, who had recently been the persecutor of Aivazovsky, admiring the Minister of Justice Panin Aivazovsky’s marines, declares: “They are lovely! If it were possible, then, right, I would have taken them from Panin! ”. Thus, another formidable wave passed by Aivazovsky.
Василий Иванович Штернберг. Иван Айвазовский в итальянском костюме
Иван Айвазовский в итальянском костюме
1842

How increased female attention almost brought Aivazovsky to a duel


What happened: Aivazovsky was summoned to a duel, accusing him of “taking away” a beautiful lady. The most offensive, which is also groundlessly blaming.

What it threatened:Well, what could a duel be in the worst case scenario? At our disposal could be much less than 6 thousand paintings (approximately as much Aivazovsky wrote for his long life).

Details: Aivazovsky’s retirement trip to Europe, which was secured by the Academy’s Big Gold Medal, marked the beginning of his high-profile triumph. In Italy, he stayed the longest in Genoa. He visited the house of Christopher Columbus there, planned to write a series of paintings from his life, which he realized, returning to this topic for many years.


He is not looking for social communication, he seeks to devote more time to work. But many people are looking for his company. And how desirable it seems to women! So the Polish Countess Pototskaya, very well versed in social affairs and women's receptions, was not averse to luring Aivazovsky. He was precisely naive in these matters, so he sincerely believed that they met by chance in the hotel lobby. The artist was heading to Milan, and, of course, they accidentally happened to be nearby in the stagecoach, because the countess also went to Milan (well, who would have thought!). The road flew in a pleasant conversation. The hotel also chose one, near the Cathedral of Milan. After a joint coffee party, we went to the cathedral, and on the way we walked around the most populous places: the countess knew the city and wanted to "light up" in the company of a new art star. Together we examined the cathedral, had lunch together and went to the park at the Sforza Castle, which painted by Leonardo da Vinci himself.

The artist inspiredly told the Countess about the great Leonardo, but she frankly missed. Aivazovsky’s next item was “The Last Supper,” so he ordered them to be taken to the Santa Maria delle Grazie Monastery, but Countess Potocka realized that there was more than enough art from her and left her companion. She left for Vienna, while Aivazovsky hurried to Paris for an exhibition. There he was overtaken by a challenge to a duel: the Tesletsky Pole, whom the artist met a couple of times in Italy, was extremely offended by the fact that Aivazovsky had taken his beloved away from Genoa to Milan. And perhaps he brought it to Paris!

How Aivazovsky dodged this storm: Our six thousand paintings by Aivazovsky are painted, you can exhale. The fact is that the artist did not follow the standard scenario. He laughed and, bypassing the seconds, went up to Tesletsky himself and explained the situation. Aivazovsky’s friend Vekka (future adjutant Garibaldi), who was present there, confirmed that they live in the same hotel, share two rooms rented in two, and not a single countess is observed in any of them. Aivazovsky invited his failed opponent and his seconds to the opening of the exhibition in the Louvre and handed them tickets. They drank the world and parted satisfied.

Left: Olga Stanislavovna Pototskaya (1802-1861) in a portrait of an unknown author of the 1830s.
Right: George Hater. Portrait of Sofya Stanislavovna Pototskaya (married Kiselyova), 1831.

The legend did not preserve the name of Countess Potocka, who laid eyes on the young Aivazovsky. In the early 1840s, in Europe, Aivazovsky could intersect with one of the Potocki sisters - Olga Stanislavovna (in the marriage of Naryshkina) or Sofia Stanislavovna (in the marriage of Kiseleva). Olga was a big lover of novels (one of them brought her own sister with her husband) - she could have put on Aivazovsky’s eye, but then Pan Tesletsky and not Lev Naryshkin or Count Mikhail Vorontsov with whom Olga should have called on Aivazovsky’s duel there was a connection. As for Sophia, she was more interested in casinos than the young artists-marinists. By the way, 20 years earlier than the events described, the famous duelist Alexander Pushkin was in love with Sofya Pototskaya.

There is one more nuance: the legend reports Countess Potocka as a Polish from Austria, while the Potock sisters were born in Tulchin (now the Vinnytsia region of Ukraine), and then lived in Crimea.

In any case, fate connected Aivazovsky with Olga Pototskaya (Naryshkina) - the Odessa Art Museum is now housed in her palace: of course, Aivazovsky’s works are also in his collection - 28 works. Here are a few paintings by Aivazovsky from the OXM collection:



How Aivazovsky failed to organize a school in Feodosia the first time


What happened: Aivazovsky submitted the draft of the first school in 1853. Nicholas I denied this request.

What it threatened: In the case of repeated attempts to obtain approval of the project (and the artist was very interested in the project) - a monarchial disfavor, which can introduce many problems into Aivazovsky’s life.

Details: Aivazovsky saw himself as a director, asking for help from a guard and two drawing teachers. He assumed that the school would be under the authority and patronage of the imperial Academy of Arts. The project stipulated all sorts of nuances: what they will emphasize in learning, how future students will be able to enter the school, on what rights students will participate in the competitions of the Academy. Including an important point was noted: the school has its own press. This would make it possible not to start paperwork on every issue, contacting St. Petersburg, but to resolve many issues on the spot (it is highly likely that this point became a stumbling block). The artist asked to finance the arrangement of the school and pay himself, teachers and staff a total of 3,000 rubles in silver per year. The President of the Academy approved the project and sent it to the Ministry of Destinies, from which the report to Nicholas I followed. “... but the emperor was not pleased to express his permission to allocate three thousand rubles in silver, intended for the maintenance of this school”. Thus, Aivazovsky received a turn from the gate.

Not that three thousand silver seemed such an exorbitant amount for the treasury. Rather, the fact that a school located in Feodosia would not be easy to control. And Nicholas I thoroughly delved into artistic issues, often selected works for foreign exhibitions, could give advice to academics and professors, and, if necessary, fine or dismiss. In general, he was much more comfortable when the institution was in sight.

But if it was important for the emperor to “control the artistic process” (not that the authorities at least once completely succeeded, but many tried), then Aivazovsky did not long for power. It’s just that he was grateful to the Taurian governor Alexander Kaznacheev all his life, thanks to whom he got into the people. The school in Feodosia saw him as an opportunity to thank the patron and open the door to the great world of painting for many talented children in his native city - as the Treasurers had once done for him. But an attempt to insist at that moment could lead to problems and royal disgrace.

How Aivazovsky waited "bad weather" and caught a passing wave: He did not abandon his idea, but put it off until better times, and for the time being carried away with his wife Julia archaeological site. As for the school - in 1865, the gentleman of Anna and Vladimir, academician and professor of painting Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky opens an art workshop in Feodosia. He no longer asks for money for premises and salaries; all he needs is the status of a professor who actually teaches at the Academy. Alexander II, unlike his predecessor, responded positively to Aivazovsky’s request.
Иван Константинович Айвазовский. Вид Константинополя и Босфора
Вид Константинополя и Босфора
1856, 124.5×195.5 см

How Turkish awards nearly ruined Aivazovsky’s reputation, but ended up at the bottom of the sea


What happened: The Crimean-Turkish war, the Turkish suppression of the Greek uprising, persecution and the destruction of Armenians. Aivazovsky sympathized and helped the Armenians and Greeks, wholeheartedly supported the Russian fleet. And at the same time he was held in high esteem by the Turkish sultans. In 1888, there was a rumor that the artist and his wife arrived at his exhibition at the Russian Embassy of Constantinople and presented the painting to the Sultan, and the Sultan awarded him the Order.

What it threatened: They even looked at Aivazovsky after the massacre of the Kond island, the sultan awarded him the Ottoman Order of the 2nd degree and ordered about thirty paintings. In these conditions, to seek new ties with the Ottoman Empire
Empire (fr. empire – imperial) is the style of the late classicism in architecture, applied art and painting. It was popular during the first three decades of the 19th century.
It is characterized by the craving for monumentality and greatness: so that it immediately becomes clear to everyone that the emperor’s power is almost limitless! The Empire style arose in France during the reign of Napoleon, later it was replaced by the eclectic art movements currents and then itfound its revival in ... the Soviet Union. Read more
is a very risky step. The notoriety of being the most famous and successful can cause trouble. Aivazovsky was no longer even afraid for himself - he had already provided for himself and his family, how much he was afraid that the stain on his reputation would affect Theodosius, whom he was “promoting” with all his might.

Details: Aivazovsky was certainly interested in such profitable customers as the Turks were for him. But Turkey’s crimes against Armenians, Greeks, the war with the Crimea could not leave him indifferent and required adjustment of relations.

In 1888, Sultan Abdul Hamid II already invited Aivazovsky to arrange a new exhibition at the Russian Embassy of Constantinople. He was invited to prepare 20 paintings. For diplomatic reasons, the artist decides not to attend the exhibition himself (although he wants to show his beloved Constantinople to his wife Anna), but sends pictures with his nephew Levon Mazirov, who is not the first to deliver the uncles of work to the appointed place.

Aivazovsky plans to transfer the collection from the exhibition to the Armenian charity. But something went wrong. No, the exhibition is traditionally held with a triumph, in the newspapers, one after another, laudatory reviews appear. For example, in the New Times publication, the editor-in-chief Suvorin writes: “The whole community of Constantinople, especially its compatriots-Armenians, both in 1874, and every time an artist comes to Constantinople, receive him with special honor". But Aivazovsky did not come to Turkey! And this mistake can become a serious stain on the reputation of an elderly artist. Even the participation of paintings in the exhibition at the moment is a very risky step, but now everyone also thinks that he went to personally honor the Sultan. Further more. The nephew was ordered to present three paintings without any fuss to the Turkish side, but in the end, the Sultan awards Aivazovsky in absentia with the Medzhidiy Order of the 1st degree.

Aivazovsky verbosely explains in letters to various government officials that he did not seek rewards and did not seek cooperation with the Sultan. Judging by the fact that this topic pops up many times, the “Turkish wave” of Aivazovsky was still doused.

How Aivazovsky did not allow himself to overwhelm this wave:The news of the mass killings of Armenians by the Turks in 1895-1896 found Aivazovsky in Europe. He responds to this terrible event with a brush: “Pogrom of Armenians in Trebizond”, “Armenians are loaded onto ships”, “Night. The tragedy in the Sea of Marmara. "
Иван Айвазовский. Ночь. Трагедия в Мраморном море
Ночь. Трагедия в Мраморном море
1897

At home, in Feodosia, his orders of the Ottoman Empire
Empire (fr. empire – imperial) is the style of the late classicism in architecture, applied art and painting. It was popular during the first three decades of the 19th century.
It is characterized by the craving for monumentality and greatness: so that it immediately becomes clear to everyone that the emperor’s power is almost limitless! The Empire style arose in France during the reign of Napoleon, later it was replaced by the eclectic art movements currents and then itfound its revival in ... the Soviet Union. Read more
were kept. Now the very memory of them burned the artist’s chest. Upon returning home, without even changing clothes and not having a rest from the road, the first thing he pulled out the orders shining with jewels, put on the collar of a yard dog and walked around Feodosiya like that. Almost the whole city joined a strange procession. Having come to the sea, Aivazovsky climbed into the boat, and, moving a sufficient distance from the coast, raised the shining orders above his head and threw them into the sea.

Local boys dived for a long time, trying to find jewelry. The sea wave once again supported the artist and cleared his name from the very possibility of gossip. Aivazovsky asked the consul to convey to the Sultan that he could do the same with his paintings ...

Author: Alain Esaulova