Metaphysics of Light
Painting by Ivan Aivazovsky (1817–1900)
From 5 October 2019 until 5 January 2020 exhibition “Metaphysics of Light” dedicated to the creative work by the outstanding Russian art school painter Ivan Aivazovsky (1817–1900) will be on display at the Art Museum RIGA BOURE (6 Doma laukums, Riga, Latvia).

Armenian descent artist Ivan Aivazovsky is a world known sea landscape master, who already during his lifetime was admired by his contemporaries. The popularity of the artist has not increased until nowadays. There are numerous exhibitions and publications, as well as his artworks are highly praised at the international art auctions.


Exhibition will show artist’s works from various periods, where light and illumination are the main components of the composition. Paintings from Latvian, Estonian, Ukrainian museum collections combine works with one theme – variations of lighting.  Aivazovsky’s skill to depict such elusive things as water and light shows author’s in-depth interest in the research of natural phenomenon, his remarkable memory and perfected painting technique. Artist used a complex glaze technique and special brushwork to achieve the presence of light and transparency of water. Sunrise, sunset, when the sun is at its zenith, diffused light of an afternoon, moonlight – these varied metamorphosis of light fill Aivazovsky’s paintings with particular colouristic refinement and nuances of emotional atmosphere. Light which radiates in sea or glitters through waves is one of the most characteristic features of Aivazovsky’s painting and it is visible throughout the artist’s work.


There will be around 30 works in various genres at the exhibition: marines, historical compositions and landscapes. Together with the artist’s paintings from the collection of the Latvian National Museum of Art, paintings from the collections of the Ukrainian and Estonian museums, as well as from private collections will be on display for the first time. Exhibition will include outstanding works such as “Seascape (Evening)”, 1865 (LNMA); “View of Mount Vesuvius a Day before the Volcanic Eruption”, 1885 (Art Museum of Estonia); “A.S. Pushkin on the Black Sea Coast”, 1897 (Odessa Art Museum) and others. Among them you will also see the landscape “Fog over the Sea”, 1884 (LNMA), which author gifted to Riga after his solo exhibition in 1886. It is intended to supplement the exhibition with ship models from the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation.



Ksenija Rudzīte, Curator of the Foreign Painting Collection at the Art Museum RIGA BOURSE/ Latvian National Museum of Art