Lot 11
  • 11

Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky

300,000 - 500,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Ukrainian landscape at night


  • signed in Cyrillic and dated 1870 l.r.
  • oil on canvas
  • 75 by 92.5cm, 29 1/2 by 36 1/2 in.


A gift from the Soviet government to Ahmet Muhtar, the last Ottoman Ambassador to Russia in the early 1920s
Thence by descent
Sotheby's London, Russian Paintings, 12 June 2012, lot 37


G.Caffiero and I.Samarine, Light, Water and Sky: The paintings of Ivan Aivazovsky, London: Alexandria Press, 2012, p.159, pl. 83, illustrated

Catalogue Note

The 1860s and 1870s saw Ivan Aivazovsky turn repeatedly to the theme of the Ukrainian landscape (fig.1). Characterised by the intense lighting of sunset or moonlight, these compositions underline the vast stillness of the surrounding countryside. Unlike the dramatic seascapes for which Aivazovsky is best known, these compositions are more intimate in feel yet still masterful in their execution. They depict unremarkable scenes from everyday life such as ploughing the fields, a farmer returning home in his ox-drawn cart or, as in a more complex, later variant from 1892, the festivities following a Ukrainian wedding.

However, even in his 'dry' landscapes, Aivazovsky was able to evoke a certain marine-like quality: instead of ship's masts rising above the watery horizon, here it is the sails of Ukraine's elegant windmills which tower over the expanse of fields.