Dating from 1851, the year after Aivazovsky painted his celebrated masterpiece The Ninth Wave
now at the State Russian Museum, The Coast at Yalta
is one of the earliest Crimean views by the artist ever to appear at auction. Although a number of other views of the town exist, depictions from the eastern side are rare. The closest comparable view is the painting Crimea
(The Peterhof State Museum Reserve), which dates from 1852 and at 58 by 88cm is significantly smaller than the present work.
The hilltop church of St John Chrystostom, which was the first stone building in Yalta when it was built in 1837, is clearly visible. Commissioned by Count Vorontsov in 1832, it was designed by Georgy Torricelli in the so-called pseudo-Gothic style which combined elements of Gothic and pre-Petrine Russian architecture. The location of the church meant that its three-tiered bell tower served as a navigation aid for sailors, something that would clearly have appealed to the artist.
The present work is included in the numbered archive of the artist's work compiled by Gianni Caffiero and Ivan Samarine.