Modern culture of the khachkars of Artsakh based on the works of sculptor Robert Askaryan


Anush Safaryan
Khachkar is one of the unique symbols of Armenian identity. Khachkars were erected throughout the territory of historical Armenia, including Artsakh and Utik, as well as in Armenian colonies around the world. The figurative relief of the khachkars of Artsakh, which is represented by a combination of plant-geometric composition and human scenes and images, is one of the unique manifestations of the khachkar culture in general. The article is devoted to the modern culture of the khachkars of Artsakh on the example of the works of the artist and sculptor R. Askaryan, in whose works traditional images are clearly presented, but in a peculiar manner and interpretation. This primarily concerns the iconography of angels, which is devoted a separate paragraph in the article.

Based on a thorough analysis, we can conclude that the master in his works widely used the themes and images of classical khachkars, tombstones and carpets of Artsakh. However, if the structure of the composition of classical khachkars, tombstones and carpets is more complete and suggests that organizing the composition: the central image, the scene, “Ornament” or tree – have clear canons for the placement of constituent elements (for example, land animals should be located at the bottom, and birds and stars at the top), then the characters of the master’s works, individual motifs are freely placed throughout the structure of the composition. The master, according to certain logic, fills the space free of intertwined patterns. It is not always possible to find a mutual connection between these characters, which makes Askaryan’s works especially dramatic.

As an artist, R. Askaryan undoubtedly left his mark on the modern art of the khachkars of Artsakh, his “handwriting” is recognizable in all his works, at the same time being a distinctive stamp among other traditional and modern khachkars.