Ivan Aivazovsky and Ilya Repin.
Pushkin to the Sea (Pushkin's Farewell to the Black Sea).
1887. Oil on canvas.
The Central Pushkin Museum, Pushkin, Russia.
Aivazovsky's student days in St Petersburg coincided with a confused and in many ways contradictory phase in Russian history. On the one hand it was a period of harsh tyranical rule and political stagnation under Tsar Nicholas I, on the other it witnessed a great flowering of Russian culture, beginning after the Napoleonic War of 1812. This was the age of Pushkin, Gogol, Lermontov, Belinsky, Glinka and Brulloff.
Pushkin, Alexander Sergeevich
(1799-1837), greatest Russian poet, "the Sun of Russian Poetry". Alexander Pushkin is the author of hundreds of verses, poems Ruslan and Ludmila, The Prisoner of the Caucasus, The Fountain of Bakhcisarai, Tzigani, the novel in verse Eugene Onegin, drama Boris Godunov and other works.
The young Aivazovsky had been introduced to Pushkin at the Academy exhibition of 1836 and all his life he revered the poet. Several times he painted Pushkin standing by the sea. The best of these pictures was the one painted jointly with Ilya Repin in 1887.
The picture Pushkin's Farewell to the Black Sea was painted per year of the fiftieth anniversary from the date of destruction Pushkin. He was killed on the duel by Baron George D'Anthes de Heckern because of an intrigue involving his wife.
Above this picture Aivazovsky worked in commonwealth with Repin Ilya Efimovich. Repin painted in this picture a Pushkin's figure, Aivazovsky - landscape background. It is one of the best pictures on Pushkin's theme.
Per the same year was painted other picture Pushkin on coast of Black sea.
Later, in 1899, Aivazovsky has painted a picture Pushkin in Crimea at Gurzuf coasts.
To the Sea
Farewell, free element, o Sea!
For one last time I watch your tide
Roll azure waves in front of me
And shine in beauty full of pride.
Like farewell mutter of a friend
Deserted for a colder clime,
The sad, inviting call you send
Resounds to me for one last time.
Beloved region of my soul!
How often, next to your shoreline,
Mute and beclouded I would stroll,
Borne with my ultimate design!
How much I loved your deep replies,
Your chasm's voice, your
And silence at the evening time,
And gusts of fanciful surprise!
Tradesmen or fishers' humble boat
Glides bravely, guarded by your will,
Amid the waves, for days afloat;
But you turn rough, impregnable --
And schools of ships go down your
I never got to say goodnight
To this unmoving, boring shore,
Greet you with surges of delight
And level my poetic flight
Along your crests forevermore.
You called, you waited... but the
And mighty passion held me bound;
My soul went out to you in vain;
Still, I remained upon the ground.
Translated by Genia Gurarie
What to regret? Where, in distress,
Would I now set my path and goal?
One object in your wilderness
Could still affect my frigid soul.
One lofty crag, a glorious tomb...
There stately memories dwelled on
And plunged in sleep of cold and
There faded great Napoleon.
Amid great pangs he rested there.
And like a thunder afterwards,
Another genius left us bare,
Another master of our hearts.
He fled, bewailed by liberty,
Bequeathing to the world his palms.
Grow agitated, roar, o sea:
Of you, of you he sang his psalms.
Your image was designed on him,
In spirit he was made the same:
Like you, dynamic, deep and grim.
Like you, impossible to tame.
The world grew empty... Ocean, where,
What shore now would you cast me at?
Same all around the earthly share:
Where falls a drop of welfare, there
Guards preaching or an autocrat.
Farewell then, Sea! I won't forget
Your beauty full of solemn power;
Long, long will I be hearing yet
Your rumble at an evening hour.
To silent wilderness, to groves
I'll carry over, filled with you,
Your crags and waves, your bays and
And shine, and shade, and murmuring