Tijana Boric, Igor Borozan
University of Belgrade, Serbia
The indescribable idea of the sublime fascinated and challenged a famous 19th century artist Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky whose dwelling upon this concept gave rise to countless visual responses. The paper examines the earliest known version of his piece known as “Walking upon the Sea” from 1849 that has been recently rediscovered and displayed after restoration and conservation within the State Art Collection of the Royal Compound in Serbia. The report offers the analysis of this particular image, a peculiar combination of the stormy sea at night and religious theme that embodies artist’s inner self observations, his thoughts, worldview and perceptive power of the years to come. Aivazovsky was a man of Romanticism and a visionary genius as well. He was occupied with the ideas of the infinity, great drama and of the divine that challenged viewers’ senses of space and time. “Walking Upon the Sea” is an art piece of its time, a manifest reflection of skepticism of the era of groundbreaking experiments, innovations and discoveries. Special attention is paid to the elements of the painting revealing the author’s interest in tuning viewers’ emotions and artistic devices to gain a new dramatic impact on them. Apart from this, there is an attempt to interpret his choice of a religious theme which is apparently incompatible with the romantic worldview and how it was correlated with a romantic category of the sublime. Aivazovsky will return to this theme at least twice in his later career. The paper contains the analysis of the artist’s symbolic lanuage and the means he used to set his inner eye into the core of his artworks.