I do not know when the artist was born in me. Probably back in the days when I listened to my parents’ tales about our mountainous, fairy homeland and took delight in the many colors of flowers, butterflies and bees. Color, light, dream - that's what got me carried away. Since childhood I loved Armenia - my homeland. I'm convinced there have been no artist without homeland.
Heartland is in a Man. All goes from a heart, all starts in a heart. What am I doing right now? What else I can do, I am working. While working I do not think. Whatever I draw, the outcome is always Armenia. Our mountains, our gorges, our people, our light, our Ararat.
Working process is self-forgetfulness. All of a sudden you seem to be getting somewhere. Suddenly you see little part of your own looking at yourself. And that makes you somehow happy.
                                                                                                               MARTIROS SARIAN
    MARTIROS SARIAN  »  WORKS

               


Martiros Sarian's creative development covers the period of over 80 years. The Master's art is diverse and of different genres. He worked as a painter, graphic artist, created book illustrations, sketches for theatre sets, monumental panels. The total number of his works exceeds 4000.

     
       

Summarized description and definition of the main objectives of the world-famous artist are most fully presented in the following word of Russian art historian - Alexander Kamenskiy:
“…Contemporary art critics, particularly those concerned with studies of Sarian's work (and one can certainly speak of these studies as of an established branch of art criticism and art history), are now faced with the important task of determining Sarian's place in the history of world art.


The starting point here is the artist's style and his creative world. "I see every nation," Sarian once said, "as a mighty tree. Its roots go deep into the native soil, while its branches covered with blossoms and fruit spread out over the entire world. The same with art-everything that is genuine and truly national is also always universal."
This was the way in which Sarian himself developed-from the truly national to the universal. The logic of that evolution should be studied and understood in all its aspects. We must penetrate into the national essence of the master's artistic thinking, determine his relationship with the influence of other cultures, and, above all, realize that Martiros Sarian was not only the leading artist for many decades in the history of Armenian painting, but also one of the greatest painters of the twentieth century.



     
       

Sometimes in understanding the original national affiliation of a master's art one is confronted with peculiar and unexpected difficulties. Nowadays, when the names Armenia and Sarian are inseparable, it may seem odd that one should speak of any such difficulties. But they do, however, exist. More than once Sarian has been referred to as "a Russian artist of Armenian origin," or even as a mere faithful follower of such French masters as Paul Gauguin and Henri Matisse - a follower who simply adapted their artistic methods to Armenian subjects.
Such presumptions are without doubt groundless, and even preposterous, but to refute them successfully one needs more than mere declarations: an unbiased and thorough study of the relevant historical events and art history is called for. What is the basis of the above presumptions? It is the facts of his biography-he was not born or raised in Armenia, he was taught by Russian artists in Moscow, he did not escape the influence of the Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, Fauvists, and so on. All these facts are true and unquestionable. Sarian spent his childhood in the steppe on the Azov Sea coast, and he received his professional education at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture, where his favorite teachers were the great Russian painters Valentin Serov and Konstantin Korovin. For many years the young Sarian lived in the Russian milieu and in the midst of Russian culture, with which he was closely linked to his last day. It is also absolutely evident that the discovery of the French masters of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century proved to be of great influence in the final shaping of the artist's painterly manner, and the entire system of his creative principles. Other cultures of the West and the East, particularly those of Egypt and Iran, left their traces in Sarian's art. Ancient Egyptian masks were echoed in the artist's works throughout his career; among his masterpieces were illustrations to poems by Firdausi, and he was a connoisseur and admirer of Iranian miniature and easel painting. In fact, Sarian, like his close friends, outstanding representatives of twentieth-century Armenian culture- the poet Avetik Issahakian, the architect Alexander Tamanian, the composer Aram Khachaturian, and the actor Vagram Papazian - was a true internationalist with a great multinational range of creative interests.
This, however, cannot diminish the unique and underlying significance of the original national sources from which Sarian's entire spiritual biography, as well as the poetics and stylistics of his art, emerged.

     
       

Armenian speech sounded over his cradle. From his early childhood he absorbed the cultural traditions, the psychology, and the moral and aesthetic views of his people. He did not merely know Armenian history and poetry, but for decades he studied them carefully, thoroughly, and devotedly as a mature Orientalist. Armenian history and poetry, as well as the traditional way of life of the Armenian people, were for him the initial, the best-loved and the best-known spiritual milieu. All the rest, however important, was beyond its limits.
To neglect this means that one fails to understand some intrinsic traits of Sarian's art. The national identity of a work of art should not be reduced to outer forms, coloring or the view painted - it would be nothing but a naive simplification of an extremely complex phenomenon. It is obvious that a constant observation of native landscapes, traditional costumes, and so on, is bound to affect an artist's creative thinking and his manner. But besides these purely visual impressions there is also the history of the nation, its spirit, and its psychology reflected in the language and literature, in the character of the people, and their moral, social, and aesthetic ideals. And finally, there is also the historical memory of national culture which preserves and passes on from generation to generation the spiritual wealth of the nation, including those of its treasures which were directly inspired by the native landscape and familiar way of life. That is why an artist who, since his early years, has shared in this memory of his culture, will grow to be a truly national master, even if he, as fate has willed it, was born and lived far from the land of his ancestors. This national feeling is the starting point from which the artist may turn to a study of world art, and the earlier they become familiar, the easier and more spontaneous is his relationship with the art and culture of other peoples.


     
       

Such was the fate which befell Martiros Sarvan. As early as in his childhood, he was exposed to the culture and life of several peoples.In fact,in his first works proper Armenian features were inconspicuous and somewhat restrained. Kostan Zaryan, autor of the first serious article on Sarian, wrote:"In every country there are age-old layers of experience and feeling, certain psychological traits lying deep below the surface. There is a melody of life which lives only in our minds and souls, and which should be listened to carefully, patiently, and without haste, and once caught, it should be revealed precisely and spontaneously, without effort or tension."3  This well-worded general observation Kostan Zaryan applied to the life of Martiros Sarian. Indeed, his genius revealed itself not only in the virtuosity and perfection of artistic means based on the fusion of Armenian, Russian, French, and other stylistic principles: far more important was that Sarian, as none of his predecessors or contemporaries in Armenian painting could, managed to hear the "melody of life" which lived in the memory and soul of his people and which was the quintessence of their national feeling.
What the initial melody was like and how it developed, can be traced in the painter's works”.





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