Calm early evening sea signed in Latin and dated '1884' (lower right); the stretcher inscribed in Latin 'Aïvasovsky, Théodosia, Crimea' oil on canvas 63 x 98.5 cm. (24 3/4 x 38 3/4 in.)
"Aivazovsky... a star of the first magnitude" (Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi)
The offered work, dated 1884, is reminiscent of the artists earlier pink works of the 1840s and 50s. It would appear to have been inspired by his memories of the South Italian coastline which he first visited in the autumn of 1840, whilst on a trip financed by a travel scholarship from the Imperial Academy. After visiting the main cities of the country, he spent the summer of 1841 on the gulf of Naples in the south of Italy. When Aivazovsky returned to Rome in 1842, he met the famous English artist J.M.W.Turner, who was so impressed with the artists work that he penned a few eulogistic lines. Whilst the Aivazovsky made later trips to Italy, he never returned to the south.
In the summer of 1880, Aivazovsky opened his picture gallery attached to his house in Theodosia, in the Crimea. Apart from a major voyage to America in 1892, he spent the last twenty years of his life living in Theodosia and painting in his studio, using his prodigious memory and material from his early sketchbooks.
Between 1884 and his death in Theodosia in April 1990, forty-four exhibitions of his work were held, a number of them in London, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna, as well as America. The date of the offered work, with the signature and inscription on the reverse in Latin, suggests that it was painted for one of these exhibitions, possibly that in Vienna in 1884 or in Berlin the following year.