The Brig Mercury by Ivan Aivazovsky
The Brig Mercury by Ivan Aivazovsky

The Brig Mercury

The Brig Mercury, after defeating two Turkish ships, meets with the Russian Squadron c1848 by Russian Painter Ivan Aivazovsky (1817 – 1900); a Romantic painter considered to be one of the greatest masters of marine art.

The Brig Mercury was an Imperial Russian Navy 18-Gun two-masted warship; that is famous for its battle with two Turkish ships on May 14, 1829.

The Mercury was pursued by a Turkish fleet of 6 ships of the line, 2 frigates and 2 corvettes; and in engaged with the ships-of-the-line the 110-gun Selimiye and the 74-gun Real-bei near the Strait of Bosphorus, also known as the Strait of Istanbul.

After inflicting damage on each of these ships the Mercury was able to escape its pursuers and meet up with the Russian Squadron.

This painting shows the Brig Mercury on a calm wide open seas with her tattered sails on her way to meet up wit the Russian Squadron, that can be seen in the far distance under a full moon lit white cloud filled sky.

This is a retouched digital art old masters reproduction of a public domain image.

Info Below Derived From

Ivan (baptized Hovhannes Aivazian) is considered to be one of the worlds greatest masters of marine art, and was born into an Armenian family in the Black Sea port of Feodosia in Crimea to Armenian Merchant Gevorg and his wife Ripsime Aivazian in 1817.

He had three sisters and an older brother Gabriel who was an Armenian Apostolic Archbishop and historian. Ivan received is early education at the Feodosia’s St. Sargis Armenian Church and was taught drawing by a local architect named Jacob Koch.

In 1833 Ivan moved to Saint Petersburg the Russian capital to study at the Russian Imperial Academy of Arts under the instruction of Russian landscape painter Maxim Vorobiev (1787 – 1855).

During his studies at the Russian Imperial Academy of Arts he was known as Ivan Gaivazovsky, then later in Italy from 1840 forward he became known as Aivazovsky.

In 1835 he was awarded a silver medal and appointed to the position of assistant to the French painter and lithographer Philippe Tanneur (1795 – 1878).

In 1837 he joined the battle-painting class of Baltic German Painter Alexander Sauerweid (1783 – 1844) and participated in Baltic Fleet exercises in the Gulf of Finland.

That same year he graduated two years earlier than expected with a gold medal and returned to Feodosia in 1838 and spent two years in his native Crimea, during which time in 1839 he took part in military exercises in the shores of Crimea where he met Russian Admirals Mikhail Lazarev (1788 – 1851), Pavel Nakhimov (1802 – 1855) and Vladimir Kornilov (1806 – 1854).

Then in 1840 Ivan was sent by the Russian Imperial Academy of Arts to study in Europe; where he first traveled to Venice, Italy by way of Berlin, Germany and visited San Lazzaro degli Armeni, a small island in the Venetian Lagoon where an important Armenian Catholic congregation was located and his brother Gabriel lived at the time.

After studying Armenian manuscripts and becoming familiar with Armenian art, he then journeyed to Florence, Amalfi, Sorrento; and from 1840 to 1842 remained in Naples and Rome, where he was heavily influenced by Italian Art.

During this time he had a number of successful exhibitions in Italy, with the news reaching Russia; and Pope Gregory XVI awarded him a golden medal. He then traveled to Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and Britain; and in France, received a gold medal from the French Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture.

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