Born in 1817, in Feodosia, Russia, Ivan Ayvasovsky was a marine painter. He studied under an architect in Feodosia and from 1833 under M.N. Vorob'ev and F. Tanner at the Academy in St. Petersburg. He exhibited from 1835, and travelled on a scholarship to Italy, Germany, France, Spain and Holland from 1840-1844.
On his return in 1844, Ayvasovsky was made an Academician and settled in Feodosia. However, he was in Paris from 1857-1858, where he painted a series entitled The Four Seasons. He also painted in the Ukraine and Caucasus during the period 1859-1870. The poet Puskkin was a significant influence on a number of his works at this time. Ayvasovsky was a member of the Academies of Rome, Florence, Stuttgart and Amsterdam. During his lifetime, he produced over 6,000 works. Ivan Ayvasovsky died in 1900, in Feodosia.