Martiros Sarian – Ararat and the Arch of Charents (1958)

“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.”

–  Martiros Sarian

Perpetually in awe with nature and his homeland, the Armenian artist Martiros Sarian (1880 – 1972) always sought to capture the beauty of his surroundings, be it in the landscapes or the people. Sarian’s use of light and color gives his art a warm, dream-like coating, enrapturing the viewers with an idyllic representation of Armenia.

Painted in 1958, Ararat and the Arch of Charents shows a breathtaking view of Mount Ararat from afar, with the Arch of Charents in the middle ground. Mount Ararat is considered a sacred mountain in Armenia, as well as being the country’s most important national symbol. According to the Bible (Book of Genesis), Mount Ararat is the resting place for Noah’s Ark.

Martiros Sarian - Ararat and the Arch of Charents (1958)
Martiros Sarian – Ararat and the Arch of Charents (1958)

Although not technically a mountain, but a dormant volcano, Mount Ararat is a snow-capped compound that consists of Little Ararat (3 896 m) and Greater Ararat (5 137 m), those two peaks being noticeable in Sarian’s painting.

In Sarian’s composition, The Arch of Charents looks as if it always stood there, witnessing the everlasting beauty of Ararat, yet it was only added in 1957, a year prior to the artist’s painting. The arch was raised in honor of  Armenian poet Eghishe Charents, who is said to have come to that place often. The painting shows the interrelatedness of the environment (Mount Ararat), art (the Arch of Charents) and Armenian people and traditions (the shepherd with his small flock in the right lower corner). Thanks to the masterful use of color and light, you can almost sense the crispness of the fresh, cool air.

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