"Chesmensky fight, Aivazovsky – description of the painting
Description of the picture:
Chesme battle – Aivazovsky. 1848. Oil on canvas. 100 ninety three x 100 eighty three cm
The generally recognized master marine painter, like no one else, was able to portray the sea in any of its conditions and various ships – from a small boat to a huge sailing ship. The picture depicts the moment of the naval battle of the Russian fleet against the Turkish, in which the latter suffered a crushing defeat and lost a huge number of ships and their own experienced sailors.
The canvas reflects the decisive moment of the night battle, when the Turkish fleet was completely defeated. This is a terrible and frightening sight – large ships burn and sink like chips, and the surviving sailors hardly cling to the remains of the masts and rigging. The incredible power and nightmare of this battle is emphasized by the high billowing pillars of flame, so it seems that the sea itself is blazing with hellish flame. Flashes of fire are written out so professionally that a feeling of a picture glowing with heat is created.
Depth of perspective and volumetric picture assigns the introduction of contrasting colors. The overall color palette is very black and gloomy, which not only corresponds to the tragedy of the action, but also is caused by the fact that the battle took place at night, and smoke and burnt from the ships dying in the fire literally covered the horizon. The sky as such is not visible on the canvas, it is covered by a dense curtain of dark mourning smoke, against the background of which fiery splashes of the colors of glowing ships and the yellowish moon, barely visible under the cover of smoky clubs, stand out truly.
On the frontal plane of the picture, a boat is crowded with people, who just blew up one of the Turkish ships with the help of their own firewall. From this explosion, an excellent fire occurred, which soon destroyed almost the entire linear Turkish fleet. On the other hand, the canvases on the remains of their own sunken ship are trying to escape a handful of Turks who survived the battle. All their hope of survival lies in the fact that they will be captured, not allowing to drown in the gloomy waters of the Aegean Sea.
This historical battle allowed the Russian troops not only to prevent the Turks from moving their ships freely in this region of the Aegean Sea, but also to establish the blockade of the Dardanelles, which prevented the main forces of the Turkish fleet from seeping into the Dark Sea.
Using such a limited color palette, the painter could not only convey the realities of sea battle, but also do it so professionally that the picture looks like a real photo report from the place of a historical event, striking the imagination of the modern viewer with the grandeur and danger of sea battles of past eras."