Why Armenian Seascape Artist Aivazovsky Tossed the Orders Awarded by Abdul Hamid II into the Sea?

A famous Russian-Armenian seascape artist Hovhannes (Ivan) Aivazovsky visited Istanbul several times, where he painted a series of paintings with views of the Bosporus and Sea of Marmara.

A part of his paintings was bought by Sultan Abdul-Hamid II, who awarded the artist the Orders of Medjidie and Osmanieh, highest awards of the Ottoman Empire.

In 1896, Aivazovsky learned about the monstrous massacres of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, which occurred with the connivance of the Turkish sultan. In early April 1896, Aivazovsky returned to Feodosia.

There, the artist tossed the Ottoman orders awarded to him into the sea and told the Turkish consul to pass his “bloody” master his words, “If he wishes, he can throw my paintings into the sea, I won’t be sorry about that.”