The Ninth Wave

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The Ninth Wave
Hovhannes Aivazovsky - The Ninth Wave - Google Art Project.jpg
ArtistIvan Aivazovsky
Dimensions221 cm × 332 cm (87 in × 131 in)
LocationState Russian Museum, St. Petersburg

The Ninth Wave (Russian: Девятый вал, Dyevyatiy val) is an 1850 painting by Russian-Armenian marine painter Ivan Aivazovsky. It is his best-known work.[1][2]

The title refers to an old sailing expression referring to a wave of incredible size that comes after a succession of incrementally larger waves.[3]

It depicts a sea after a night storm and people facing death attempting to save themselves by clinging to debris from a wrecked ship. The debris, in the shape of the cross, appears to be a Christian metaphor for salvation from the earthly sin. The painting has warm tones, which reduce the sea's apparent menacing overtones and a chance for the people to survive seems plausible. This painting shows both the destructiveness and beauty of nature.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "The Ninth Wave". Hermitage Museum. Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Aivazovsky, I. K. The Ninth Wave. 1850". Auburn University. Retrieved 10 December 2013. Detail from "The Ninth Wave" "The Ninth Wave," painted in 1850, is Aivazovsky's most famous work and is an archetypal image for the artist.
  3. ^ Debating Globalization and the Ninth Wave at University of Indiana Framing the Global Program Debate

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