Lev Felixovich Lagorio
- Lev Felixovich Lagorio
- Ships on a calm sea
- signed in Cyrillic and dated 1886 l.r.
- oil on canvas
- 74.8 by 124.5cm., 29 1/2 by 49in.
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NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
In this mature work by one of Russia's most talented marine artists, a Russian trade steamer lies at anchor at the mouth of the Bosphorus, a Turkish schooner under sail to its port side. The serene scene bathed in silver light belies the hostilities that took place less than a decade previously in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, in which control over the narrow straits of the Bosphorus played a crucial strategic role. Lagorio painted a series of pictures depicting the conflict, most famously The Repelled Assault of the Bayazet Fortress, 8th June 1877 (The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow). After the war shipping channels were reopened for passenger and trade steamers, the latter identified by the red, white and blue tricolour flag on the stern. Odessa – Sukhumi – Redout-Kale – Batumi – Istanbul was a common itinerary in the 1880-90s.
The son of a Neopolitan Vice-Consul, Lagorio grew up in Theodosia, where ten years earlier Ivan Aivazovsky had also been born. He studied at the Academy of Artists under Vorobiev and Willewalde. The attraction of naval themes for both artists was not purely aesthetic: it was well understood in the Russian Admiralty that the restoration of the Black Sea Fleet were of primary political importance, particularly in the late nineteenth century when in terms of sheer combat power the Russian fleet closed the gap between itself and the British and French navies. Growth in Black Sea trade was also of crucial importance and the offered work of 1886 captures a critical moment in its course towards pre-eminence in the region in the nineteenth century.
We are grateful to I.N.Klimov, K.P.Guber, S.D.Klimovsky and S.B.Chernyavsky of the Central Museum of Naval Warfare, Saint Petersburg for additional cataloguing. information.