Salvaged wreckage reveals treasure trove of lost paintings

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A team of Russian underwater explorers may have stumbled upon a cache of lost artwork worth millions. Although the wreck was discovered in the Black Sea more than a decade ago, crews began uncovering its secrets last year. In video footage released this week, the crew of the Neptune Expedition explore the wreck of the steamship General Kotzebue, which sank on April 16, 1895, after colliding with another ship near Cape Tarkhankut offshore from Crimea. Among the remains of the luxury ship, they found fragments of works by Ivan Aivazovsky, one of the most famous Russian artists of the 19th century.

Born in 1817 into an Armenian family in Crimea, Aivazovsky had a great love for the sea and is considered one of the greatest masters of marine art. His romantic seascapes often show violent seas, with a dramatic play of light on crashing waves and ships caught in the tumult. During his lifetime, his work was much admired, his popularity boosted by the support of Anton Checkov. He was appointed as the chief painter of the Russian Navy and received awards from many European countries. During his 60-year career, Aivazovsky created more than 60 works, including seascapes, landscapes, biblical scenes, and portraits.

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