30 հունիս, 2016 14:36

A Look Inside the National Gallery of Armenia

Current Exhibition

“THE BRONZE AGE OF BENIK PETROSYAN”

Foreground: “Nanny Goat” (1993) bronze; Background: “Boy with a Pipe on a Mythic Goat” (1992) bronze Foreground: “Nanny Goat” (1993) bronze; Background: “Boy with a Pipe on a Mythic Goat”
(1992) bronze

“The Bronze Age of Benik Petrosyan” is a special exhibition at the National Gallery this month and will be on display until July 10. Benik Petrosyan, known as Beno to his friends, began making miniature sculpture at a time when most other Armenian sculptors were working with machines to fill orders for large Soviet sculptures. According to Arev Petrosyan, Beno’s daughter, some of those sculptures stayed in Armenia; others were sent to Russia or Ukraine. With the creation of a school of miniature sculpture, Petrosyan offered an alternative art form for Soviet sculptors. While Petrosyan never had formal students, he was a mentor to many young artists. From 1985 to 1991, Petrosyan received the USSR’s “Best Sculpture” award for his miniatures. He was well-recognized during his lifetime and exhibited his artwork throughout the Soviet Union, Belgrade, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Paris, Canada, Japan, Italy, and Switzerland.

Lenin’s Way (1980), molded iron Lenin’s Way (1980), molded iron

Petrosyan is remembered for his love of life and nature, his sense of humor, and his sometimes dissident politics. He wasn’t afraid to create something taboo, as seen in “Lenin’s Way,” a sculpture of a headless figure. He was also the founder of Armenian erotic art.

Arev remembers her father drawing pictures and telling her stories about animals. Once she asked why he was using the same color. The wolf is not blue, and the tree is not blue, she said. Her father replied that the secret of drawing is that you are allowed to use your imagination and be the creator of life – you become a magician of your own life. The love of life and nature and the ability to create life simply through color influenced Arev’s own perceptions of art. She is a painter and runs Arev Art Gallery at 19 Teryan Street. Arev Art Gallery displays Arev’s paintings and also includes sculptures by her younger brother, Areg Petrosyan, as well as some of Benik Petrosyan’s work.

Beno Petrosyan was a multi-media artist and created sculptures from wood, stone, ceramic, and bronze. He was also a painter and a graphic artist. “The Bronze Age of Benik Petrosyan” is only a small sample of his collected works, yet it contains 200 sculptures, 36 graphic works, 6 oil paintings, 33 posters, and 36 bas reliefs.

As an anniversary exhibition marking twenty years since Benik Petrosyan’s death, the family has said that this will be the last exhibition until they open his museum, a project that is still in the planning stages.

Aramazd (1976) bronze Aramazd (1976) bronze

Ex-deputy (1985), bronze. Ex-deputy (1985), bronze.

Wire Mesh Woman & Child Maternity / from the series of “Refugees” (1994), metal gauze

Soviet Soldier (1980), molded bronze, welding Soviet Soldier (1980), molded bronze, welding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Center Hohannes Aivazovsky "Calm on the Mediterranean Sea" 1892 Center: "Calm on the Mediterranean Sea" (1892) by Hovhannes Aivazovsky – Probably the most famous Armenian painter and known as one of the greatest marine artists in history, Aivazovsky believed painting should be done alla prima, or wet-on- wet, painting in layers overtop of colors before they have time to dry. The National Gallery holds the second largest collection of Aivazovsky’s work; the largest is at his home museum in Crimea.

National Gallery Permanent Collection

In 56 galleries spanning eight floors, the National Gallery holds an extensive collection of Western European, Russian, and Armenian art works. Showcased among the Russian and Western European galleries are works by world-wide acclaimed painters and sculptors such as Tintoretto, Donatello, Wassily Kandinsky, Marc Chagall, and Pyotr Konchalovsky. However, the museum is proudest of its wide-ranging collection of works by Armenian artists.

The galleries exhibiting works by Armenian painters and sculptors can found on three different floors, with most works dated in the 19 th and 20 th centuries. The paintings range in styles and illustrate influences from art around the globe. One can glimpse the influence of Monet’s impressionism in some of the seascapes or see something akin to the Flemish and Dutch masters’ use of light in a still life. Or, there may be touches of Eastern architecture, calligraphy, and attention to detail.

The museum also holds a collection of medieval art, including a few original pieces of frescos from the Garni Temple and many more replicas of frescos that were made between 1936 and 1951. These replicas are valued at nearly the same amount as the originals as most originals have been modified or damaged over the years, while the replicas document the paintings as they were discovered.

Armenian Landscape by Martiros Sarian, known as the Matisse of Armenian painters due to his use of color. Sarian also illustrated books, designed theater sets and costumes, and was once the director the state museum of archeology, ethnography, and fine arts, which is now the National Gallery. Armenian Landscape by Martiros Sarian, known as the Matisse of Armenian painters due to his use of color. Sarian also illustrated books, designed theater sets and costumes, and was once the director the state museum of archeology, ethnography, and fine arts, which is now the National Gallery.

"Portrait of an Unknown Man" by Hakob Hovnatanian – Hovnatanian was a self-taught 19 th - century painter. He is considered the founder of secular painting in Armenian art and is known for his ability to capture the psychology of his subjects in his portraits through his renderings of eyes and hands. "Portrait of an Unknown Man" by Hakob Hovnatanian – Hovnatanian was a self-taught 19 th -
century painter. He is considered the founder of secular painting in Armenian art and is
known for his ability to capture the psychology of his subjects in his portraits through his renderings of eyes and hands.

"Salome" by Vardges Surenyants (1907) – The founder of Armenian historical painting, Vardges Surenyants was also a book illustrator, graphic artist, and translator. However, in this painting, Surenyants imagines Oscar Wilde’s Salome, a rejected woman who shows both pride and disappointment as she waits for the head of John the Baptist. "Salome" by Vardges Surenyants (1907) – The founder of Armenian historical painting,
Vardges Surenyants was also a book illustrator, graphic artist, and translator. However, in
this painting, Surenyants imagines Oscar Wilde’s Salome, a rejected woman who shows both
pride and disappointment as she waits for the head of John the Baptist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text and photos, Heather Momyer

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