Second Birth of Sarian’s `Armenia’


26 Feb 05

120th anniversary of great Armenian painter Martiros Sarian will be
celebrated on February 28. On this occasion we met with Shahen
Khachatrian,art critic, to learn about some news about the pieces of
the painter. At present, Shahen Khachatrian is preparing for
publishing his memoirs about the years of friendship with the great
painter. The book will help the readers see Sarian from another
viewpoint, to get familiarized with his worldview, philosophy and the
style of work.

We would like to touch upon the story of “Armenia” picture painted by
Sarian for the Armenian pavilion at the agricultural exhibition in
Moscow, 1939.

Sarian’s magnificent piece (50 square meters) made a great impression
on the visitors of the exhibition. Boris Ternovets, famous art critic,
organizer of all the foreign exhibitions, representative of the Soviet
pavilion at the Venice Exhibition 1924, wrote in the Soviet Art
magazine about Sarian’s picture: “One can often see landscapes as
decorative themes for the pavilions. We can point out a number of
interesting and successful solutions, but no one willever see such
inspirational and fascinating compositions as the ones created by
Sarian. The painter approached the theme with open hearth, freedom,
fresh feelings, that are born from deep love towards the native
land. His pictureis neither a mechanical reproduction of photographic
forms nor naturalistic depiction of separate landscapes. This picture
is a song of a great poet.

… Sarian could create a really profound image, the unique synthesis
of his nature land and the life.”

“When the agricultural exhibition closed we lost the picture. Once the
director of Sarian’s House Museum, I began to look for “Armenia”
fresco picture. I could find only a number of addresses, then I
applied to Tretyakov Picture Gallery in Moscow, but I failed to find
anything. Afterwards, I came acrossa photo that gave some idea of the
picture. Stalin’s monument that was in front of the photo hindered to
see Sarian’s “Armenia.” In 2003 I took the black and white photo to
Samara and Olga Knyazheva, one of the best specialists of Photoshop,
managed to restore the full view of Sarian’s piece aftera long and
hard work.

Certainly, I couldn’t find the original picture, unfortunately, butI
think that our art lovers will be glad to have at least the photo of
Sarian’s lost picture,” Shahen Khachatrian said.

By Melania Badalian