From the beginning, Ivan Aïvazovski (1817-1900), a Russian painter of Armenian origin, specialised in marine painting. He quickly became successful, allowing him to accompany the Empire's fleet for its official journeys.
Aïvazovski painted this work in his studio, using memories of his trips to Istanbul. There, he created close ties with many Sultans.
The eye lingers on the boat in the foreground before being drawn in by the Nusretiye (Top-Kahné) mosque, emerging from the pink mist, illuminated by a golden light. Its two, large minarets appear to guide boats to the port. Aïvazovski represented nature faithfully, particularly variations of light and water reflections, while giving these marine views a theatrical feel. Romanticism and realism intertwine in his work.