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32:The Room of the Russian School

The Ninth Wave

Ivan Aivazovsky


Oil on canvas

The State Russian Museum

The Ninth Wave is Aivazovsky's most celebrated work. The artist found the precise means with which to depict the grandeur, might and beauty of the marine element. The ninth wave -supposedly the most powerful and destructive - is on its way. A fragment of the mast is the last refuge clung to by the sailors from a wrecked ship. But the darkness of night is already being penetrated by the light of hope. One wants to believe that the desperate will to survive will triumph over the raging ocean. Despite the dramatic nature of the subject, the painting does not leave a gloomy impression. On the contrary, it is full of light and air and thoroughly transfused by the rays of the sun which endows it with a feeling of optimism.



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