Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (Armenian. Հովհաննես Այվազյան, Hovhannes Ayvazyan; 17  July 1817 — 19 April [may 2] 1900) — world famous Russian marine painter, painter, collector, philanthropist.
The most outstanding artist of Armenian origin of the XIX century. Brother of Armenian historian of the Armenian Apostolic Church and Archbishop Gabriel Aivazovsky.
Hovhannes (Ivan) Aivazovsky was born in the family of merchant Konstantin (Gevork) and Hripsime Aivazovskaya. 17 (29) July 1817, the priest of the Armenian Church of the city of Feodosia made a record of what Konstantin (Gevork) Aivazovsky and his wife Hripsime was born “Hovhannes, son of Gevork Ayvazian”. Aivazovsky ancestors were of Galician Armenians who had migrated to Galicia from Western Armenia in the eighteenth century. It is known that his family owned a large land in the area of the city, however, no documents, to more accurately describe the origin of Aivazovsky, were not preserved. His father Konstantin (Gevork) and after moving to Theodosia wrote the name in the Polish manner: “Gayvazovsky” (name — polonizirovanny form of the Armenian name Ayvazyan). Aivazovsky himself in his autobiography says of his father, that owing to quarrels with his brothers in his youth emigrated from Galicia in the Danube principalities (Moldavia, Wallachia), where he engaged in trade, and from there to Theodosia; knew several languages.
The artist’s father — Konstantin G. Aivazovsky (1771-1841), after moving to Theodosia, married a local Armenian Hripsime (1784-1860), and from this marriage were born three daughters and two sons Hovhannes (Ivan) and Sargis (later, in monasticism Gabriel). Original trading business Aivazovsky went successfully, but during the plague of 1812 he went bankrupt.
Ivan Aivazovsky childhood discovered his artistic and musical abilities; in particular, he independently learned to play the violin. Theodosia architect — Yakov Khristianovich Koch, first drew attention to the artistic abilities of the boy, and gave him the first lessons of skill. Jacob Khristianovich also helped the young Aivazovsky, periodically giving him pencils, paper, paint. It is also recommended to pay attention to the young talent to the mayor of Feodosia. After graduating from the County schools of Feodosia, Aivazovsky was enrolled in the Simferopol gymnasium with the help of the mayor, who at the time was already an admirer of the talent of the future artist. Then Aivazovsky was adopted at expense of the Imperial Academy of arts in St. Petersburg.
It is also known that the first teacher of drawing at young Ivan Aivazovsky was a German colonist artist Johann Ludwig gross, whose light hand of a young Ivan Konstantinovich has received the recommendations of the Academy of fine arts. Aivazovsky arrived in St. Petersburg on August 28, 1833. In 1835, for the landscape “view of the seashore in the vicinity of St. Petersburg” and “a Study of air over the sea” received a silver medal and was designated an assistant to the fashionable French landscape painter Phillip Tanner. Learning from Tanner, Aivazovsky, despite the ban on the latter to work independently, continued to paint landscapes and exhibited five paintings at the autumn exhibition of the Academy of fine arts 1836. Works by Aivazovsky received positive reviews from critics. Tanner complained Aivazovsky, Nicholas I, and by command of all of Aivazovsky’s paintings were removed from the exhibition. The artist was forgiven only after six months and was attached to the battle-painting class of Professor Alexander Ivanovich Sauerweid to practice military marine paintings. After studying in Sauerweid’s class just a few months, in September 1837, Aivazovsky received the major gold medal for the painting “Calm”. This gave him the right to a two-year trip to the Crimea and Europe.