OIL PAINTING: The Ninth Wave, 1850
Aivazovsky's most popular paintings are The Rainbow (1873), The Black Sea (1881), Wave (1889) and The Ninth Wave (1850).
In the painting The Ninth Wave the master's talent showed fully for the first time.
The Ninth Wave of Aivazovsky shows a sea still rough after a night storm. The first rays of sunlight shine on the huge waves, and the largest of these, the ninth wave, seems as if it will consume the people attempting to save themselves on the ruined mast. Their ship has wrecked and many of their mates have perished. The people know that they will not be able to swim out of this, that they face a certain death, yet they clutch the sinking mast and fight the elements for their lives. When WE imagine ourselves in the position of those sailors we feel two things, both despair and lust for life.
The painting is composed of warm tones (the sea does not seem so menacing) and for this reason we are attracted by an illusory hope that the people will be saved. But we realize this is impossible. Despite the tragic nature of the image the artist clearly admires the beauty of the sea. Thanks to Aivazovsky's talent, the colors and play of light, the sea looks natural and radiant.
See the process of reproducing this painting