An Aivazovsky 19th Century painting is currently at Daniel Hunt Fine Art, Chelsea. This painting is of Armenian national interest.
Daniel Hunt recently bought this painting at Sotheby’s which features three Armenian girls in resplendent national costume emerging from a sunlit garden. One of them gives charity to a blind beggar in a white turban who is being looked after by a small child. Tartar dignitaries look on from the wooden balconies of the palace, and against the background of the rocky cliffs that surround the town is depicted a white minaret.
Bakhchisarai was the capital of the Crimean Khanate and the centre of political and cultural life of the Crimean Tartars. Like all Crimean towns, the population of Bakhchisarai in the late nineteenth century was ethnically very diverse and would have included communities of Armenians, Russians and Greeks as well as Tartars.
Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky undertook his last great journey in 1892, a voyage by sea to America. His intention was to visit the World’s Fair in Chicago, where he himself was exhibiting twenty pictures. As it turned out, he travelled to New York, Washington and the Niagara Falls but after two months cut short his visit and returned to Russia. The twenty pictures he sent to Chicago were listed in a letter to Count Ivan Ivanovich Tolstoy; the first five of these were part of his Christopher Columbus cycle, the other fifteen were a cross section of his usual subjects and included views of Naples, Venice, Athens and Constantinople. Number 12 is the present painting.