Martiros Saryan

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Martiros Saryan
Մարտիրոս Սարյան
Born28 February [O.S. 16 February] 1880
Died5 May 1972(1972-05-05) (aged 92)
EducationMoscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture
Known forPainter
Notable workArmenia, Morning at Stavrino, Burning Heat with a Dog Running, and In the Grove at Sambek

Martiros Saryan (Armenian: Մարտիրոս Սարյան; Russian: Мартиро́с Сарья́н; 28 February [O.S. 16 February] 1880 – 5 May 1972) was an Armenian painter, the founder of a modern Armenian national school of painting.[2]


He was born into an Armenian family in Nakhichevan-on-Don (now part of Rostov-on-Don, Russia). In 1895 at the age of 15, he completed the Nakhichevan school and from 1897 to 1904 studied at the Moscow School of Arts, including in the workshops of Valentin Serov and Konstantin Korovin. He was heavily influenced by the work of Paul Gauguin and Henri Matisse. He exhibited his works in various shows. He had works shown at the Blue Rose Exhibit in Moscow.[1]

House in Rostov-on-Don where Saryan lived from 1919 to 1921.

He first visited Armenia, then part of the Russian Empire, in 1901, visiting Lori, Shirak, Echmiadzin, Haghpat, Sanahin, Yerevan and Sevan. He composed his first landscapes depicting Armenia: Makravank, 1902; Aragats, 1902; Buffalo. Sevan, 1903; Evening in the Garden, 1903; In the Armenian village, 1903, etc., which were highly praised in the Moscow press.[3]

From 1910 to 1913 he traveled extensively in Turkey, Egypt and Iran. In 1915, he went to Echmiadzin to help refugees who had fled from the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire. In 1916, he traveled to Tiflis (now Tbilisi) where he married Lusik Agayan. It was there that he helped organise the Society of Armenian Artists.

Saryan on a 1999 20000 Dram banknote

Following the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917, he went with his family to live in Russia. In 1921, they moved to Armenia.[4] While most of his work reflected the Armenian landscape, he also designed the coat of arms for the Armenian SSR and designed the curtain for the first Armenian state theatre. He also made a proposal for the flag of this independent Armenia based on the colours and designs of traditional Armenian fabrics and carpets, although his design was rejected.[5]

From 1926 to 1928 he lived and worked in Paris, but most works from this period were destroyed in a fire on board the boat on which he returned to the Soviet Union.[6] From 1928 until his death, Saryan lived in Soviet Armenia.[7]

In the difficult years of the 1930s, he mainly devoted himself again to landscape painting, as well as portraits. He also was chosen as a deputy to the USSR Supreme Soviet and was awarded the Order of Lenin three times and other awards and medals. He was a member of the USSR Art Academy (1974) and Armenian Academy of Sciences (1956).[8]

Saryan died in Yerevan on 5 May 1972.[9] His former home in Yerevan is now a museum dedicated to his work with hundreds of items on display. He was buried in Yerevan at the Pantheon next to Komitas Vardapet.[10]

His son Ghazaros (Lazarus) Saryan was a composer and educator. His great-granddaughter Mariam Petrosyan is also a painter, as well as a cartoonist and award-winning novelist.



  1. ^ a b "Сарьян Мартирос Сергеевич" (in Russian). Great Soviet Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  2. ^ Saryan, Ruzan. "Մարտիրոս Սարյանի ծննդյան 125-ամյակին նվիրված գիտաժոդով [Scientific Session on Martiros Saryan's 125th Birth Anniversary]". Patma-Banasirakan Handes (in Armenian). Yerevan: Armenian Academy of Sciences (3): 304–305. ISSN 0135-0536.
  3. ^ "The singer of Armenia" (in Russian). Russia Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 2010-02-21.
  4. ^ "Biography, Saryan's Museum". Archived from the original on September 6, 2012. Retrieved 2013-05-11.
  5. ^ Hovhannissian, Petros (2009). "Հայաստանի աոաջին Հանրապետության պետական դրոշի՝ Մարտիրոս Սարյանի նախագիծը [The design of the national flag of the First Republic of Armenia by Martiros Sarian]". Etchmiadzin (in Armenian). Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. 65 (5): 118–119.
  6. ^ "Biography, Saryan's Museum". Archived from the original on August 20, 2011. Retrieved 2013-05-11.
  7. ^ Khachatrian, Shahen (1972). "Սարյանի արվեստը [Sarian's Art]". Patma-Banasirakan Handes (in Armenian) (2): 288–291.
  8. ^ "Saryan". Retrieved 2013-05-11.
  9. ^ "(in Russian) Biography in Krugosvet Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2013-05-11.
  10. ^ Saryan's memorial tombstone at Komitas Pantheon

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