Ivan Aivazovsky (Hovhannes Aivazian) didn’t read at all. Well, maybe he did read textbooks in the gymnasium, but he would soon give up on this occupation. He was friends with Pushkin, but he did not read his compositions either. “Why should I read books? I already have my own opinion!”
Everyone was amazed at this behavior of the artist. And one contemporary derogatorily called Aivazovsky “a cross between a good-natured Armenian woman and a bishop,” complaining that the artist was speaking slowly, with an accent, and uttered not very interesting things. This is because he did not read books! He had his own opinion!
Aivazovsky had a water spring, that’s the thing. His own, personal mineral spring in the estate near Feodosia. The artist earned this estate with his paintings, amazing, and delightful seascapes. He painted the sea so that it was like a living thing! In fact, he didn’t even glance at the sea, did not paint from life. Just out of his head. Although he loved the sea, of course.
Once, a terrible drought began in Feodosia. Aivazovsky provided the city languishing in heat and thirst with access to his personal water source. He built a water pipe with his own money – 26 versts (28,6 kilometers) of pipes!
And he quenched the thirst of the whole city. For free. Fifty thousand buckets of water every day were received by citizens from Aivazovsky’s personal spring. He was not greedy. Since he had a spring, everyone was welcome to drink from it.
He built a gymnasium and a theater in the city with his own money. Many different cultural institutions as well. And he watered all them with water from his spring. He would also often give away his magnificent paintings free of charge.
When one has a water source, he does not have a special need to read books. He can afford not to read them – this is his personal right.
He painted amazing, brilliant paintings. At the age of 75, he went to America to paint Niagara Falls. How could have he had time to read?
Let everyone do their own thing. Draw from their own source, if provided by God. And if such a person generously shares it with others, then one should not criticize them, shove books in their hands, or write something unpleasant about them.
To each his own.
Aivazovsky’s water source was inexhaustible. It had everything – the sea, and the mountains, and the earth, and the sky, and summer, and winter, and people, and birds, and fish, and the salvation of the drowning… Everything was in the source. In the original source. And books and pictures are just a retelling – buckets of water for the thirsty…
Russian original by Anna Kiryanova, translated from a repost by Marina Kupriyashina