What is life? It is an island. People come out of the sea, walk through the island and plunge into the sea again.
And this short life lived by Man is very long. Perceiving nature we praise the marvelous beauty of life.
Our nation has asserted the law of Earth: the law obliging to be constantly near the Sun. We are linked to the Sun; it has been pulling the Earth towards itself since time began. New generations come, but the Sun always stays with us. Let us be true to this order of things. Let us cherish life, light, accord and love, and use our labor to justify the trust Nature has put in us.
                                                                                                              Martiros Sarian


The main source of Martiros Sarian’s background happens to be his memoirs published as a separate book titled "From My Life" (the first edition appeared in 1966, edited by V.Matevosian). The book covers the artist’s first substantial period of life: from early childhood till 1928. The second period from 1929 till 1972 is presented in M.Kazarian and A.Agasyan’s book "Martiros Sarian. The Chronicle", published in 1980 on the occasion of the artist’s centenary, and also in the collection "About Sarian", compiled by A.Kamensky and Sh.Khachatrian. The artist’s biography is replenished with new details thanks to his letters edited by Rouzan Sarian – the House-Museum’s director (I volume: 1908-1928, printed in 2002; II volume: 1929-1953 printed in 2012, III volume is made ready for edition).


Martiros Sarian and his son kompozer Lazar Sarian, 1952


1880 - The Master's birth

Sarian's family moved to the Sambek river bank, built their own house and provided themselves with property.

1883 - Sambek

Sarian's family moved to the Sambek river bank, built their own house and provided themselves with property.

1889-1895 - School years

Studied at the Armenian-Russian secondary school in Novaya (New) Nakhichevan.

1897-1903 - Student's time

Got professional art education at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. For a year and half attended the portraiture and genre classes supervised by V.A.Serov and K.A.Korovin.

1901-1903 - First visit of Armenia

Summer months spent in the Caucasus and Transcaucasia. Traveled to the ancient Armenian capital Ani and the gorge of river Akhurian. Also went to Tiflis, Batumi, Lori, Shirak, Etchmiadzin, Ashtarak, Aghpat, Sanahin, Sevan.

1903-1907 - "Fairy Tales and Dreams"

Created watercolor cycle "Fairy Tales and Dreams".

1904 - First exhibition

Contributed to Alaya Roza (The Scarlet Rose) exhibition in Saratov.

1906 - Acquaintance with the art of French artists

First acquaintance with Gauguin, Sezanne, Van Gogh, Matisse works in the collection of S.I. Shchukin.

1907 - "Blue Rose"

Participated in” the Blue Rose” exhibition in Moscow.

1908-1909 - "Golden Fleece"

Contributed to all the exhibitions, organized by Zolotoe Runo [The Golden Fleece] magazine.

1910-1913 - Trips to the East

Made a number of trips to the East - to Turkey (1910), to Egypt (1911), to Western Armenia (1912), to Persia (1913). Took part in Moscow Society of Artists, Mir Iskousstva [The World of Art]. The Union of Russian Artists exhibitions.


The Tretyakov Gallery acquired paintings of Sarian.

1912 - Trip to Transcaucasia

Traveled to Artvin, Ardanuch, Tiflis. He represented the painting “Dogs of Constantinople”(1910) to London to be exhibited at the Second PostImpressionism Exposition.

1914 - Georgia, Nakhichevan

Went to Tiflis to organize the preservation of Armenian medieval architectural monuments. Then he traveled to Yerevan, Agulis, Tskhneti, Julfa. Got acquainted with the preserved Armenian monuments. In summer worked in Kalaki (Goghtan). Six of his paintings were represented at the International Baltic exhibition in Malmo. The artist was awarded a medal.

1915 - Armenian Committee

On knowing about genocide of Armenian people in Western Armenia, closed his workshop in Moscow and rushed to Etchmiadzin as a member of Armenian committee to help refugees and orphans on the spot.

1916 - Sarian marry Lusik Agayan

Participated in the The World of Art exhibition in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Took part in organizing of The Union of Armenian Artists in Tiflis. Married to Loussik Aghayan – the daughter of a famous Armenian writer - Ghazaros Aghayan.

1917 - The birth of his first child

Moved with his wife to Nor (New) Nakhichevan. In January 26 Sarian's elder son Sarkis (Sarik)Sarian was born. Took part in the exhibition The Society of Armenian Painters in Tiflis.

1918 - The birth of his first child

Together with his family traveled to Sambek.
Together with M.Shaghinian established The Society of Professional artists Rostov.

1919 - The sketch for the flag of Armenia

Organized the Armenian Local Lore Museum and headed it as a director. Visited Yerevan to participate in the first exhibition of Armenian Artists dedicated to the anniversary of declaration of the First Armenian Republic. Creates a sketch of Armenia state flag.

1920 - The younger son’s birth

In September 30 his younger son Ghazaros (Lazar, Zarik) Sarian was born. The artist worked with Rostov museums and also with the Committee of Museums, Art and Old monuments.

1921-1923 - Yerevan

The Sarians moved to Yerevan, where Sarian organized and headed the first state museum of Armenia, Committee for Monuments Preservation, Art College. Designed a curtain for The First Drama Theatre of Armenia and the national emblem of the Republic.

1924 - 14th International Art Exhibition in Venice (Biennale)

On Sarian's initiative Association of Armenian Art Professionals was organized. Participated in the 14th International Art Exhibition in Venice (Biennale). Six paintings were represented at the exhibition of Russian Art in New York.

1925 - Moscow

Awarded the title of People's Artist of Armenia. Went to Paris, lived there for a year and a half.

1926 - Тitle of People's Artist of Armenia

Awarded the title of People's Artist of Armenia. Went to Paris, lived there for a year and a half.

1927-1928 - Exhibitions in Paris

Took part in Ani exhibition (Society of Armenian artists in France), The Word of Art exhibition, later organized his personal exhibition in Girard gallery. The ship named Phrigie, which was taking across Sarian's painting from Paris to Batumi, took fire in the port of Istanbul. 37 canvases burnt down.

1929-1933 թթ. - The work for the theatre

Worked for the theatre, illustrated Armenian Folk tales and collections of Armenian writers.

1934 - Turkmenistan, illustration of Firdousi’s poem “Roustam and Sohrab”

Made a trip to Turkmenistan with a group of Russian painters and produced a series of graphic works and landscapes. Splendid edition of Firdousi’s poem "Roustam and Sohrab" appeared in Yerevan, designed and illustrated by M.Sarian, translated by G.Asatour, edited by E.Charents.

1935 - "Brave Nazar"

Designed stage sets and costumes for Aro Stepanian's opera The Brave Nazar.

1936 - One-man exhibition in Moscow and Leningrad

Sarian's one-man exhibition in Moscow and Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) was held.

1937 - Grand Prix and the Diploma of Honor

On government order created the panel National Handicraft Industry for the Soviet pavilion at Art and Machinery International Exhibition in Paris. Received the Grand Prix and the Diploma of Honor.

1938-1939 - "Almast"

Created a panel for the Armenian pavilion at the All-Union exhibition of Agricultural Achievements (in Moscow). Designed A. Spendiarov's opera Almast.

1941 - Тhe third degree State (Stalin) Prize

Awarded the third degree State (Stalin) Prize for the stage set and costume designs for the opera Almast by A. Spendiarov.

1943-1944 - Kiev

Sarian travels to Kiev to meet his son, who fought at the front. Creates a number of graphic works on war theme.

1945 - Victory

Sarian executes the largest still life with flowers, dedicating it to the warriors who gave their life in the struggle for the Motherland.

1946 - Deputy of the USSR Supreme Soviet

Sarian is elected a deputy of the USSR Supreme Soviet. From 1959 up to the day of his death was a deputy of Armenia Supreme Soviet. 

1947 - Тhe Full Member of The USSR Academy of Arts.

Became Full Member of The USSR Academy of Arts.

1949-1952 - Academy of Sciences

Supervised the Theory and History of Art department of Armenia Academy of Sciences.





1960 - People’s Artist of the USSR

Awarded the title of the People's Artist of the USSR. In Yerevan met with noted American writer W.Saroyan, painted his portrait.

1961 - Тhe Lenin Prize

The series My Motherland was honored with Lenin Prize.

1962 - His older son passed away

At 44 due to the road accident Sarian’s older son passed away. The death was a great bereavement for 82-year old artist. It took him a great effort to get back to creative work.

1965 - Personal exhibition held in Moscow and Yerevan

Personal exhibition held in Moscow and Yerevan on the occasion of the Master's 85th birthday.

1966-1967 - One-man exhibitions in Hungary

One-man exhibitions were held in Hungary, Czekia, Germany. Book of Sarian's memoirs On my Life was published in Yerevan.

1967 - Master’s House-museum in Yerevan

Оn 26 November the Martiros Sarian House-museum was opened in Yerevan.

1968-1970 - One-man exhibitions

One-man exhibitions were held in Kharkov, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Yerevan, Kiev, Odessa, Krasnodar, Donetsk, Zaporojie. Awarded the Lenin Order on the occasion of his 90th birthday.

1971-1972 - Last works

Created the final series of graphic works and his last painted in oil masterpiece "Fairy Tale" (1971).

1972 - The Master's death

Martiros Sarian passed away on 5 may 1972. Buried in the Yerevan Pantheon in Komitas park on may, 11

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