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Sailing off the coast of Crimea in the moonlit night, Aivazovsky - Description of the Painting

Sailing off the coast of Crimea in the moonlit night, Aivazovsky - Description of the Painting


Sailing off the coast of Crimea in the moonlit night - Aivazovsky. 1858. Oil on canvas. 47 x 64 cm


Date of creation – 1858, written by I. K. Aivazovsky in Feodosia where, by that time he had lived for more than ten years.

On the painting, one can observe a surprisingly wide range of blue shades, starting from the almost black, dense dark blue sea in the foreground, and up to the pale blue sky illuminated by moonlight.

In the meantime, the heavenly body, plays one of the key roles in the painting: its light allowed to convey the calmness of the water surface, the silence and serenity of the southern night.

In the center of the canvas there is a three-masted sailboat, drifting calmly at anchor, with the sails lowered. No sailors can be seen on board, they must have gone looking for adventures in local taverns.

In the distance, one can observe the port coast with the boats moored, shrouded in a light haze, and in the sky, there are rare cirrus clouds reflecting the poured milky moonlight. The picture virtually breathes drowsiness and peace.

This is the ideal static romance, with no place for a fight between man and the elements, and with the complete harmony between the nature forces and human creations. A ridge of massive mountains tearing the horizon line is the only thing reminding the viewer that not everything is that unambiguous in this sort of unity, and that power, albeit dormant, and strength, albeit being on repose, remains with nature. It is spoonful of stress in a big barrel of bliss and serenity.

The image of the Crimean bay tells us a quiet whispered story of a huge sleeping giant, which is sometimes disobedient and invincible, and sometimes gentle and tender, like a purring kitten, with its rustling waves and silky night water surface, with every drop of it playing with the moonlight, and keeping in its depths ancient secrets or treasures lost by reckless seamen.

The story of the songs of the sirens and the mermaids. It might be on such a night when one of them dreams of her prince, sitting at the anchor of a three-masted vessel and peering at the distant and inaccessible seashore with hope and yearning.
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