Aivazovsky's success was well-earned, for no other artist managed to capture with such brilliance, conviction and apparent ease that most difficult of subjects for the painter - the changing moods of the sea.
Aivazovsky was not just a professional marine painter. He knew the sea and loved it sincerely. Although he turned occasionally to other art forms such as landscape and portraiture, these were only brief departures from his chosen genre to which he remained faithful all his life.
It is a rare artist who both resists old age and actually rises above his previous works. Aivazovsky achieved this twice. He painted The Black Sea at the age of sixty-four and then created the large-scale canvas of Among waves when he was nearly eighty-two. In it he painted a complicated network of waves in an endless variety of grey, green and blue shades done in light, almost transparent brush-strokes. With inimitable skill he created an image of the ocean aroused by a hurricane. Separated by deep abysses the waves thunder, collide and break into whirlpools. This vast body of water is in constant feverish motion undergoing endless transformations: here are elemental power and movement taken to the extreme. Aivazovsky had moved on a long way from the brilliance, but contrived artificiality of The Ninth Wave. This final image of the angry but beautiful sea forms a fitting climax to the great artist's work.
Aivazovsky maintained his capacity for work, his energy and lively creative intelligence until the very end of his life. All in all he painted more than 6,000 pictures and a multitude of skillfully executed drawings. Many of his works have taken their places among the greatest achievements of visual art. Kramskoy referred to Aivazovsky as "a star of the first magnitude" and thus correctly established the painter's place in the pantheon of Russian art.