“The Watch of the Black Sea Fleet in 1849,” Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky – overview of the painting

“The Watch of the Black Sea Fleet in 1849,” Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky – overview of the painting
“The Watch of the Black Sea Fleet in 1849,” Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky
  • Museum: Central Naval Museum, St. Petersburg
  • Year: 1886

Overview of the painting :

The Black Sea Fleet in 1849 was watched by Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky. Oil on canvas. 131 x 249 cm
   XIX century is the time of brilliant victories of the Russian fleet. Taking part in several maritime operations, who visited Sevastopol during the Crimean War, Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky admired the heroism and courage of Russian sailors and was proud of the experience and talent of our famous floters, many of whom were personally familiar with.

   In 1849, he took part in a review of the ships of the Black Sea Fleet, conducted by Emperor Nicholas I. This magnificent sight so sliced into the artist’s memory that in 1886 he would write a picture dedicated to this event, filled with triumph and a sense of pride.

   The sun stands high in the sky, with bright blind glare reflected in the water, the path shimmers with silver, running along small waves. Lightly extended clouds float through the pale blue sky. In the distance, in a soft golden gray haze, a panorama of Sevastopol Bay is visible, a white city spread over the hills. On the horizon lurk blue-blue outlines of the mountains melt.

   Emperor Nicholas I, who accepts the parade, carefully peering into the approaching squadron, stands on the deck of the Verkhodofregat “Vladimir”. Not far from him is next to Admiral M. P. Lazarev stand P. WITH. Nahimov, V. AND. Istomin and B. AND. Kornilov. Their faces are concentrated, their hands are clenched in fists, their eyes, without stopping, closely monitor the movement of ships.

   And before them, in the majestic kilvater system, having spread the sails, the pride and glory of Russia – the Black Sea Fleet, one of the strongest in the southern seas, is rapidly and easily.

   With a quiet hiss, they cut a small wave of stem, leaving a foam mark behind them. High masts are looking into the sky, carrying the stoop filled with wind, bright white in the sun or bluish-pedel in the shade. The white-blue Andreev flags are proudly fluttering in the wind. Red ports are open on the cannon decks, cannons ready for battle are visible. Sunlight emphasizes the whiteness of the stripes on the sides, under the forward-seated bowsprites on the bow of the ships, the biceps of the wings are clearly visible.

   Setting the pace, he heads the column “Twelve Apostles” – a linear ship carrying 130 guns. Behind him are no less famous sailboats who took part in the Crimean War.

   Teams are built along the side. Perfect training – not a single ship is out of order, not a single sail has lost the wind. Quick-winged gulls, seafarers’ satellites, swirl over the waves.

   To emphasize the significance of the moment, the artist chooses restrained colors: gray steel, blue, cold blue and calm olive brown. The picture is filled with light and air. It is so real that we feel the fresh sea breeze, hear the cries of gulls and the splashing of the scattered waves, feel the thunder and splendor of the sails above the sea. Sea water is foaming overboard, changing its color from silver-steel under sunlight to dark lead-sharp in the shade.

   But the prevailing gray shades make sad notes. In a few years, all these handsome men will be flooded in Sevastopol Bay, blocking the road to English ships.

   You can admire these sailing ships captured on the canvas for a long time, recalling the Russian sailors and flotakers, whom we are proud of so far.