Instytut Historii Sztuki <Posen> [Editor]
Artium Quaestiones — [1].1979

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zytów. Zdystansowanie malarza-akademika widać u Ajwazowskiego w nie-
chęci do aktualizacji tematyki, do reportażowego ujęcia. Indywidualizacja
wydarzenia przynależna była wyłącznie tematyce „wielkiej” — malarstwu
batalistycznemu i historycznemu, co jest zrozumiałe u oficjalnego mala-
rza Głównego Sztabu Morskiego. Rozpatrując interesujący nas motyw z tej
perspektywy, widzimy, że przy całej jego popularności był on dla Ajwa-
zowskiego motywem drugiej, niższej rangi — motywem zasługującym je-
dynie na rodzajowe lub wyłącznie dekoracyjne ujęcia.



One of the best ways of creating the image of nineteenth century painting is
to follow the motifs as mobile elements, although always as present and oyercoming
the limits of style so charaeteristic of the nineteenth century.

Motif, in the nineteenth century scholars’ understanding, has above all, a formal
and visual character, and simultaneously it becomes a transformer of certain mes-
sages. However, a motif is not eauivałent in meaning with a theme or what we cali
the idea of a work of art, because its essence is defined mainly by its representative
character. The basie feature of so explicated motif is its duality, the existenee of
the imaginary surface and the semantic surface, the reading of which in the widest
rangę, is the task of the study upon motifs as such. It seems that adopting the
visual perspective, as proposed by the supporters of the research of the nineteenth
century art, could help in the case of applying it in reference to the Russian painting
of this century, and it could bring about interesting observations.

Presenting a ship on a stormy sea, a storm, a shipwreck and the wrecked man
in the midst of the high waves, should be recognized as one of the most popular
motifs of European painting sińce Romanticism. The motif of a shipwreck also had
its preferences in literaturę. Romanticism has enriched the traditional and religious
determination of a sea journey as “navigatio vitae” with the element of confrontation
of man with a power of naturę. The sea becomes the essential element and it often
confronts man and at the same becomes a complement to him; man gains
consciousness (compare with literary works of G. Byron, H. Heine, A. Puszkin).

Thus, Romanticism enriches the traditional rangę of meanings of a motif in its
essential interpretation — with the elements such as: fąscination with physical and
spiritual sufferings, taste for misery and horror charaeteristic of the epoch, and
broadens it with the contemporary, sensational and exotic elements.

Since Romanticism the motifs of a stormy sea and a shipwreck gained multilayer
meaning in European literaturę, painting and the graphic arts. It could be interpreted
literally as a report about a particular event, in its historical interpretation, with
the whole set of individual facts, and also due to the preservation of the literary
tradition and due to historical interpretation — “navigatio vitae” the metaphorical
meaning can be established.

On the presentational surface, within the formal presentation, the motif of a storm
and of a shipwreck underwent essential modifications at the beginning of the nine-
teenth century. In connection with the changes which have become evident in English
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