This Week in Armenian History

Death of Sargis Muradian (July 12, 2007) 

Painter Sargis Muradian was one of the remarkable names in Armenian painting of the 1960s-1980s. His works on historical subjects like Gomidas and the battle of Sardarabad, but also his paintings of his late friend, the poet Paruyr Sevak (1924-1971), made his work well known to the public. 

Muradian was born on June 23, 1927. He attended the Panos Terlemezian Art School in 1943-1945 and then graduated from the Yerevan Institute of Fine Arts and Theater in 1951. He became a member of the Painters Union of Armenia in 1954. He quickly became one of the most prominent figures on the Armenian thriving scene during the period of Khrushchev’s “thaw.” He was one of the first to touch upon the subject of the Armenian Genocide with his noted painting “Gomidas’ Last Night” (1956). He became a lecturer at the Yerevan Institute of Fine Arts in 1961. In the same year, he earned the title of Artist Emeritus of Armenia and became Art Worker Emeritus in 1971 and Popular Artist in 1978.  

Muradian won the State Award of Armenia in 1976. He was president of the Painters’ Union of Armenia (1982-1987) and was elected corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Arts in 1983. His distinctive artistic manner was defined by simplicity of form and an austere palette. It gained him wide recognition and numerous awards in the Soviet Union during his lifetime. Working in different genres, from historical painting dedicated to the fate of the Armenian people to iconic Yerevan cityscapes, Muradian created a clear artistic language, which revealed the beautiful complexity and versatility of his perception. In various paintings he explored the connections of man with his homeland. His works were showed in numerous exhibitions in Armenia, Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Poland, and Albania. 

The painter was also a committed intellectual. In 1965 he participated actively in the unprecedented commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the genocide. He was a member of the Soviet Supreme of Armenia in 1985-1990, while he participated actively in the Artsakh movement and then the process leading to the independence of Armenia. He was deputy to the National Assembly in 1990-1995. He founded the charity organization “Renaissance” (1989-2005).  

Sargis Muradian passed away in Yerevan on July 12, 2007. A gallery bearing his name was opened in the Armenian capital in 2014.