Ivan Aivazovsky, The Ninth Wave (Девятый вал)

Государственный Русский музей (State Russian Museum), Saint Petersburg

Date: 1850
Technique: Oil on canvas, 2210 x 3320 mm

The titles refer to the nautical tradition that waves grow larger and larger in a series up to the largest wave, the ninth wave, at which point the series starts again.

It depicts a sea after a night storm and people facing death attempting to save themselves by clinging to debris from a wrecked ship. The painting has warm tones, which reduce the sea's apparent menacing overtones and a chance for the people to survive seems plausible. This painting shows the destructive side, and beauty of nature.


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