Painting by Aivazovsky “On the island of Crete”

Aivazovsky was born in Feodosia, a small town on the eastern coast of the Crimea. The house of Aivazovsky stood on the outskirts of the city, on an elevated position. A wide panorama of the smooth arc of the Feodosiya Gulf, the North Crimean steppes with ancient burial mounds, the Arabatskaya arrow and Sivashi, rising like a haze on the horizon, opened up from the terrace, twined by the vine. Near the shore lay a ring of well-preserved ancient fortress walls and towers with formidable loopholes. Here in his youth the future artist has learned to recognize in the shards of old dishes, mossy architectural fragments and green coins features long noisy, full of terrible life events.

Aivazovsky’s childhood was held in an atmosphere that awakened his imagination. By sea to Feodosia from Greece and Turkey came the resinous fishing felucci, and sometimes they were anchored in the raid by the huge white winged handsome men – the warships of the Black Sea Fleet. They brought

here the rumor about the harsh liberation struggle that the Greek people were leading in those years.

From childhood, Aivazovsky dreamed of the exploits of folk heroes. In his declining years, he wrote: “The first pictures that I saw when a spark of fiery love for painting flared up in me were lithographs depicting heroic deeds in the late twenties fighting the Turks for the liberation of Greece.” Later I learned that sympathy for the Greeks overthrowing Turkish yoke, then expressed all the poets of Europe: Byron, Pushkin, Hugo, Lamartine… The thought of this great country often visited me in the form of battles on land and at sea. “

Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin.
Arise, O Greece, rise.
Arise, O Greece, rise.
It was not without reason that the strength was straining,
It was not without reason that
Olympus and Pind, and Thermopylae were shaking…

Country of heroes and gods
Rastorgla slavish beliefs
With the stump of fiery verses of
Tirtei, Byron and Riga.

The second (during the life of Aivazovsky) the rise of the liberation struggle of the Greek people took place in the 1860s. This struggle caused a wide sympathetic response among the progressively thinking people of the whole world.

1867 is associated with a major event of great socio-political significance – the uprising of the inhabitants of the island of Crete, which was in the vassal possession of the Sultan. Aivazovsky responded to this event with a large series of paintings.

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Painting by Aivazovsky “On the island of Crete”