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The picture was created in 1887, oil on canvas. On it, the artist demonstrates the greatness of the natural element, which he worshiped all his life. Aivazovsky was in love with the sea and admired all of his conditions: from complete calm to an all-destructive storm. The artist saw the raging sea more than once: both from the shore and from the ship, but he never painted from nature, since he considered it impossible to convey the true beauty of nature.
The painting depicts a lone ship in the middle of the raging elements. He is surrounded by big waves and a dark sky. The storm had already done tangible damage to the ship: it tilted one way, the ropes became tangled and hung limp among the masts. Tired of fighting the storm, the ship is already struggling to stay on the water surface, cruel waves confidently break its resistance and try to pull to the bottom. Any next wave can be fatal for him.
People in a hurry escape from a sinking ship: they sit on boats and row to the side. Will they be able to reach the shore? Will another ship pick them up? Or will they die tragically in a raging sea? The tragedy of the situation is emphasized by the remains of previously sunken ships, which can be seen in the corner of the canvas.
In this picture, Aivazovsky’s love for the sea is clearly manifested. He so painstakingly painted every wave, masterfully playing with color. At the very edge of the picture, the waves are light, almost transparent, turquoise with white scallops. In the distance, the sea takes on a dirty gray-green hue.
The stormy sea is illuminated by the rays of the sun, which flash through the gloomy clouds. A bright spot in the sky predicts the end of the storm, gives a chance for salvation to sailors. Not far from the sinking ship, white seagulls are flying above the waves, symbolizing hope, freedom and life.
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