“For many years living away from Armenia, I strongly yearned for my native, sweetheart landscapes, mountains and gorges, rivers and fields, and for everyday scenes of folklife.
And my joy was great when Martiros Saryan, a participant in an international art exhibition, arrived in Venice in 1924.
I had heard the name of Saryan before, but I had never seen any of his works.
In the Soviet pavilion, I examined the canvases of Saryan impatiently, eagerly, moving from picture to picture, all absorbed in their sight, forgetting about everything in the world, happy.
Before my eyes was Armenia – the subject of my longing. Here was the blue sky of the motherland, its air woven from the light. Here was the majestic Masis, sitting like a lion together with its lion cub with a white mane and resting its head on the sky. Here were the fields of Armenia… The golden wheat fields were swaying. Beaming and gurgling, rivers were running off into the distance. Poplars with sharp tops were on the sides of the roads like watchmen…
Here were clusters of grapes and other fruits, roses, wonderful flowers – it was as if you were able to feel their aroma. And there, on the top of the cliff, a graceful doe shined with its amber eyes. Here was a buffalo that as if mysteriously emerged from primitive times whose ancient voice I would like to hear.
And all this was animated, lived, and breathed thanks to the magic brush of the talented artist.
The art of M. Saryan is optimistic, cheerful, permeated with spring freshness. It awakens the love of life, and, generously spilling joy, helps to live.
His art is saturated with the sun. His brush is a sheaf of sunlight. Moreover, in his canvases is the sun itself with all its tints. The sun is here with its color, tone, heat, and light – all that from which his paintings are created.
In the pavilion, I stood for a long time at the works of M. Saryan. I wanted to hear feedback from visitors, to find out what impression his paintings made on foreigners. And I myself thought: “Saryan is a singer of nature and the bright colors of Armenia. What will residents of other countries understand in it?” Excited, I kept repeating to myself, “Yes, the singer of Armenia, the singer of Armenia…”
But then, accompanied by two ladies, the famous German artist Simmel, who lived in Venice, arrived at the exhibition. He stopped in front of the canvases of Saryan:
“This is interesting! Curious work! They have freshness, a new beauty for me. The artist has his own, special flavor… I wonder where he is from.”
Coming closer, I said, not without inner pride, “From Armenia”.
“These are your works?” one of the ladies asked with interest.
“No, my fellow countryman’s, Martiros Saryan’s…”
Simmel once again looked at the paintings and, turning to me, said, smiling:
“I fell in love with your Armenia…”
The works of Martiros Saryan are the triumph of our painting, priceless treasures of the Armenian culture. But most importantly, Saryan is an artist with a pronounced national flavor. The roots of his painting are in our ancient art.
However, when a foreigner admires the art of foreign people, understands, appreciates, loves it, then this art becomes universal, becomes the property of everyone. And the true path of art is always that way – through national to universal.
The art of Martiros Saryan belongs to the whole world, it is loved by everyone.
Avetik Isahakyan, 1955