Material/technique: oil on canvas.
Dimensions: 67x110 cm.
Dimensions: Rafałowicz 1860 (in the bottom-left corner of the painting); Po burzy na Morzu Czarnym (inside of the frame).
Expert report issued by art history expert Ms Irena Bal on 18 February 2010, Warsaw.
The sea was a favourite theme of artists in the Romantic era, for seascapes enabled them to reveal the power and the beauty of natural forces. However, there are only a few maritime painters in 19th-century Lithuanian art, so the canvas by KAROL RAFAŁOWICZ (1831–1861) of a storm in the Black Sea is an interesting and rare piece in the genre. Rafałowicz studied at St Petersburg Academy of Art, where he might have become familiar with the fabulously popular work of Ivan Aivazovsky (1817–1900). The work by this celebrated Armenian maritime painter frequently featured stormy open waters and views of sinking ships. The canvas by Rafałowicz also shows the dramatic moment of an encounter between man and the elements: waves tossing on to rocks little boats full of people who have managed to escape from sinking ships. The theme may have been prompted by the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Crimean War of 1853 to 1856. The Black Sea was thereby declared neutral waters, and commercial shipping was revived. Aivazovsky lived in Paris for half a year in 1857, and held a solo exhibition to much positive acclaim. It is known that Rafałowicz also studied in Paris in 1860, and it is possible that his seascape was inspired by Aivazovsky’s success, possibly even directly copying him, especially since he could not have painted the Black Sea from nature that year.
Reference: "RES PUBLICA" The art collection of the law firm Ellex Valiunas. Compiler R. Jononienė. Vilnius, 2018, P. 200.
Published: "RES PUBLICA" The art collection of the law firm Ellex Valiunas. Compiler R. Jononienė. Vilnius, 2018, P. 201, Cat. No. 65, P. 225.