Alexey Hanzen (1876-1937)
Sunny day

singed lower left A Hanzen
oil on canvas
30 x 40 cm

private collection Czech Republic
Price on request
The Sunny Day is painted by the Russian marine artist Alexey Hanzen. It is a beautiful Mediterranean region presented in bright, gleaming colours. Being a grandson of the renowned marine painter Ivan Aivazovsky, Hanzen has inherited his grandfather's fondness for seascapes, storms and the Navy. However, unlike many of Aivazovsky's quite stern works, Hansen's Sunny Day, like many of his other paintings, is filled with cheerfulness, glow and peace. The warm palette of the picture accurately conveys the atmosphere of the second homeland of the artist, Yugoslavia, where he relocated together with his family in 1920. For the seventeen years, Hanzen has been tireless in praising the Dalmatian coast and its mountainous terrain, its bays and multiple peninsulas scattered around. The Sunny Day continues the rich traditions of Russian marine painters. Seascape originated as an independent genre in the early XVII century in the Netherlands. Whether it was nature's fury and rage as a sea storm or mirror-like water surface epitomising serenity, artists have been drawn to seas and oceans and were mesmerised by the wild blue yonder. Seascape has reached its Golden Age with the arrival of an English Romantic artist, J. M. W. Turner, in the XIX century. Further development is influenced by Impressionism that has left its trace in The Sunny Day as well. Rose coloured, warm light which permeates the air in the painting, as well as the play of glares, soft shadows and the emerging haze, reveal the artist's interest in the expressing the intricacies of ephemeral, elusive world in the painting. Seascape has followed the current tendencies of the time and was modified according to the prevailing trends in art. Postimpressionists such as Signac and Seurat infused their marine scenes with rainbow coloured mists. Despite the influence of Western trends in art, Hanzen, to a great extent, has remained faithful to the Russian school of painting, following the teachings of his distinguished grandfather, and realistic traditions.

In the second half of the XIX century, the primary motives for the marine landscape have shifted to a contemplative aspect. The coast has become an essential part of the seascape, and the emphasis has already been turned from the sea, as an environment for battles or demonstrations of the Navy, to the coastal waters as a place for rest, enjoyment and observation. Sea rocks, majestically rising from the depth of the sea, and small islands, which are beautifully scattered around the Adriatic coast, are now more significant than they used to be. Previously, they had been included mainly in the scenes of shipwrecks, but now they have their own aesthetic value. Indeed, this atmospheric mood is the goal itself in the painting like The Sunny Day, and its main protagonists are the sea and the shore. There is no confrontation between man and nature as in many famous marinas. The picture is imbued with a sense of harmony and integrity. Especially in Russian painting of the XIX century, the sea is perceived as an image of freedom beyond anyone's control. This feeling persists in the work of Hansen, where the sea and the shore act as something eternal, adamant. The picturesque freedom inherent in the work of Hanzen does not involve any pompousness or pretension. The Sunny Day impresses the viewer with its ease, tranquillity, and masterfully conveyed atmospheric mood. Hanzen had arrived on the Adriatic coast as an already known and respected artist with an established artistic style. There is no doubt that his work has influenced contemporary art in Croatia and has developed some tendencies in the seascape.