On Saryan’s 130-th Anniversary
Ruben S. Angaladyan
The art of Martiros Saryan (1880-1972), one of the most eminent representatives of the Armenian painting, was formed on the basis of both the best achievements of the French and Russian painting and the apprehension of the aesthetic traditions of Persia and Old Egypt. Still, first and foremost it is the medieval Armenian miniature that was close to Saryan’s heart, especially the psychological portraits of the biblical faces and characters by the author of the 13-th century prominent manuscript “Targmachats”, Grigor.
The comprehension of the art’s object was much wider for Saryan than Armenia’s geographical or cultural perception: by saying Armenia Saryan understood the whole globe, the whole universe. At the same time, Saryan is the only painter in the world painting whose paintings represent his own country’s image and symbol.
As for the choice of values too, Saryan’s painting differs from the French Fauves and the Russian Academic School which have had an impact on him, since in contrast to those trends, Saryan has not used his artist’s rational analysis of the East, but has taken the whole wealth of the Orient as a poetic metaphor, as a riddle, which is to be known, but does not need to be explained.
The Saryan phenomenon lies in the absolute Armenian type in which surprisingly in a natural and organic way the main traits of the exceptionally emotional eastern world-sentiments are intertwined with the worldview of the western man. Due to the emergence of a painter of such a scale as Saryan, the Armenian painting of the New Ages has gained a number of systematizing guidelines, forming artistic and aesthetic bonds both in the national culture and in the relations with other cultures. The wondrous blend and synthesis of several cultures present in Saryan’s works allowed to build the wholeness of art world of the Armenian school. In this way, the path of the Armenian art imagination once again led to the road of the synthesis of the East and the West: the vivid manifestation of the Armenian national character, its unique place and role in the world. That great synthesis of those two cultures and civilizations turned to a solid bridge connecting the East and the West in the 20-th century, one of the holding columns of which is unerringly Martiros Saryan.