Ivan Aivazovsky's View of Venice has provided the highest bids in a major Russian art auction held on November 25 and 28 in London.
The magnificent piece sold for £1m ($1.6m) as part of one of the most anticipated sales of Russian art week, which has seen sales from all the top auction houses. See more results in our Art & Photography news section.
Aivazovsky (1817-1900) is widely regarded as one of the greatest seascape artists in history, and the work at auction certainly attests to this. Painted in 1851, it depicts San Giorgio Maggiore - one of the islands of Venice - from across the water, with one of the city's famous gondolas in the foreground.
The artist enjoyed success throughout Europe and particularly in Italy, with art collectors often asking him to produce copies of his most famous compositions. View of Venice is one such piece, reworked from an earlier composition that he had first touched upon in 1840 during a study trip to Italy.
The view of San Giorgio Maggiore would reappear in several of his works throughout his career, with this considered one of the finest and most serene of the series.
The entirety of Aivazovsky's Venetian series was also met with enthusiasm when he returned home to Russia, with Emperor Nicholas I purchasing almost every piece to adorn his Cottage Palace in Peterhof. The Petersburg elite soon followed in their leader's footsteps, snapping up the remaining few.
The current world record for Aivazovsky's art at auction was set at Sotheby's in April, when his View of Constantinople and the Bosphorus sold for £3.2m ($5.1m).
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