Ivan ( Hovhannes) Aivazovsky (Aivazian) was born to a poor Armenian family. His family moved to the Crimea from Galicia in 1812. His talent as an artist earned him sponsorship and entry to the Simferopol gymnasium №1 and later the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts, which he graduated with a gold medal. Earning awards for his early landscapes and seascapes, he went on to paint a series of portraits of Crimean coastal towns before travelling throughout Europe. In later life, his paintings of naval scenes earned him a long-standing commission from the Russian Navy stationed in the Black Sea. In 1845, Aivazovsky went to Istanbul a city he was to travel to eight times between 1845–1890and where he was commissioned for a number of paintings as a court painter by the Ottoman Sultans. He spent his last years in Feodosia where he supplied the town with water from his own estate, opened an art school, began the first archaeological excavations in the region and built a historical museum. Aivazovskii is considered one of the most important painters of sea-scapes.