The Ninth Wave by Aivazovsky
The Ninth Wave is the most celebrated painting by Ivan Aivazovsky, a 19th century seascape painter. It illustrates the grandeur of the human spirit in grappling with the elements. The subject was suggested by the old sailor’s superstition that in storms and gales at sea the ninth wave is the most fearful and fatal. In this picture we see a handful of men clinging to the mast of a sunken ship in a gallant attempt to save themselves. The rays of the rising sun, penetrating the clouds, illuminate the waves towering above them.
The famous sea-painter, Aivazovski, is represented by nine canvases, including "The Deluge," " The Ninth Wave," and "The Creation of the World." His works display a wonderful power of imagination and theatrical effect.
Through Finland to St. Petersburg, A. Scott, 1911
His Ninth Wave (Alexander III. Gallery, Petrograd) usually considered his masterpiece, seems to mark the transition between the fantastic colour of his earlier works, and the more truthful vision of the later years. Even here it is the grand form of the on coming wave that strikes us most ; the inexorable movement towards the spectator of a volume of water, that fairly takes his breath away.
The Russian Arts. Rosa Newmarch, 1917