The Ninth Wave is the best known seascape painting by Ivan Aivazovsky, who was a famous Russian painter. Obviously Aivazovsky was excellent in painting seascapes. His superb technique and rich imagination in depicting the vivid light reflecting on the waves received much praise. Most of his seascape paintings show us spreading sunlight and moonlight through a fog or behind clouds, giving a sense of transparence.
Series of his seascape paintings are highly appreciated, such as View of the Sea by Moonlight, Moonlit Seascape with Shipwreck, The Mary Caught in a Storm and Black Sea. And The Ninth Wave is his most successful work. According to a Russian folklore, when there is a storm on the sea then the ninth wave is the most terrible. The arrival of a night storm brings about many disasters. The sail and mast might be destroyed, or even nothing survives. As a result, it is almost impossible to escape its enormous destruction.
The purpose of the painter is to show how people conquer the nine waves. It depicts the great courage of those who standing in wrecked ship ready to defeat the storm and shows their strong will to fight with the nature. The sunlight shines on the great waves through thick clouds and fog, making the sky bright and transparent. This gives light and confidence to the people facing death. The painting appears in warm tones so that to deliver the sense of hope. The strokes painter uses to depict the light and color melt into the waves completely, creating a feeling of actually being there.
This painting The Ninth Wave shows beautiful scenery on the sea so it sometimes considered as the most beautiful painting in Russia. As a painter, Ivan Aivazovsky was very successful. He was the most prolific Russian painter of his time and he left over 6,000 works at his death.