“Aivazovsky wrote the wonderful sea … And I was honored to paint a figurine there,” Ilya Repin commented on his role in creating this picture. True, it should be admitted that such characteristics were generally in the style of Repin – he spoke very enthusiastically about those around him and very derogatory about his “modest talents”, such a character. However, this does not diminish the merits of a truly wonderful sea, however, we will not be as strict with the figure as its author.
Pushkin and his wife Natalya Goncharova visited an exhibition at the Academy of Arts. It was September 1836. Having heard about this, the students ran into the hall to look closely at the poet. Among them was Aivazovsky. Academy inspector Krutov introduced him to Pushkin as a contender for a gold medal. Young Aivazovsky got into the soul of how affectionately the poet greeted him.
Aivazovsky wrote to Pushkin more than once. And in general there are portraits in his legacy, but Aivazovsky is still not a portrait painter, his talent was fully manifested in the images of the sea and sky. Inviting Repin as co-authors is an excellent solution. The fact is that even when there are people in the picture, they are always immeasurably small in comparison with the favorite element of Aivazovsky, and this is not only about physical size. Sincerely admiring “our all”, Aivazovsky found a great way not to overshadow the figure of Pushkin by the elements – he asked Ilya Repin to paint this figure, who was an excellent portrait painter. As a result, we have before us the magnificent Aivazovsky Sea in its best manifestations: seething, lively, frantic, with transparent emerald waves, water falling from the rocky shore, the sea, the sound of which you hear when you peer into the picture. And the bright, well-written figure of Pushkin. The poet’s gaze is directed into the distance, as if he is listening to the roar of the waves, his hair flutters in the wind, in one hand his hat is almost rolled up by the wind, the poet’s other palm rests on a stone. And, according to Aivazovsky’s plan, he pronounces farewell lines to the sea:
Goodbye free element! For the last time in front of me You roll blue waves And shine with proud beauty …
Year of painting: 1877.
Painting dimensions: no data.
Writing technique: oil.
Gallery: All-Russian Museum of A.S. Pushkin, St. Petersburg, Russia.