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Vardges Sureniants

Vardges Sureniants
Born 27 February [O.S. 10 March] 1860
Akhaltsikhe, Tiflis Governorate, Russian Empire
Died 6 April 1921(1921-04-06) (aged 61)
Yalta, Crimea
Nationality Armenian
Known for Painter

Vardges Sureniants (Armenian: Վարդգես Սուրենյանց; 27 February 1860 – 6 April 1921) was an Armenian painter, sculptor, illustrator, translator, art critic, and theater artist. He is considered the founder of Armenian historical painting.[1][2] His paintings feature scenes from Armenian fairy-tales and various historical events. Although Sureniants had one exhibition dedicated to his works in his lifetime, he was admired by many of his contemporaries which include many well-known figures in Russian and Armenian society including Martiros Saryan, Ilya Repin, and Vladimir Stasov.


  • Life 1
  • Work and style 2
  • Legacy 3
  • Gallery 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Vardges Sureniants in his youth

Vardges Sureniants was born in

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External links


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ a b c d e f g
  4. ^ a b c d e
  5. ^ a b c Adamyan 2012, p. 7.
  6. ^ Holding 2011, p. 47.
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  10. ^ a b Adamyan 2012, p. 8.
  11. ^ a b Mouradian 1995, p. 171.
  12. ^ Adamyan 2012, p. 9.
  13. ^ Adamyan 2012, p. 3.
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  16. ^ Adamyan 2012, p. 10.
  17. ^ Adamyan 2012, p. 13.
  18. ^
  19. ^ Adalian 2010, p. 190.
  20. ^ Adamyan 2012, p. 12.
  21. ^ a b
  22. ^ a b c Adamyan 2012, p. 15.
  23. ^ From the original Armenian: "Բարձր կուլտուրայով կատարված նրա լավագոյն գործերում ուժեղ տրոփում է Հայաստանի սիրտը, դրա համար Վարդգես Սուրենյանցը կապրի այնքան, որքան կապրի հայ ժողովուրդը..."



The renowned Armenian painter, Martiros Saryan, once said of Sureniants that, "with a broad understanding of culture, his best works contained the beating heart of the Armenian nation" and added, "It is therefore certain that Sureniants will last as long as the Armenian people shall last."[23][24]

Sureniants' superior skill in painting the architecture of the East while paying close attention to the intricate details of its motifs provides his paintings a splendor of colorfulness.[23]
, who said: Vladimir StasovAnother admirer was the Russian art critic
The paintings of Vardges Sureniants fascinated me the first time I saw them; he is a bright exemplar of the new [painting] school – his originality is of unusually high proportions, and his passionate love for the slightest detail is outstanding.[23]

Famous figures from across Europe had great appreciation for his work. One such admirer was the renowned Russian painter Ilya Repin who said:

Sureniants was well known in the art community and enjoyed personal friendships with a number of famous Russian artists including Igor Grabar, Vasily Polenov, Aleksandr Golovin and the sculptors Alexander Matveyev and Nikolay Andreyev.[3][4]

Sureniants in his later years
Sureniants can well be ascribed to the family of the world's best artists, and our State has much to do in this respect: the celebration of his 150th anniversary should launch the process of his international recognition. I happened to discover an exciting detail as I familiarized myself with his life experience. During his lifetime, Sureniants had only one personal exposition: in Baku in 1901. Our initiative is exceptional from this point of view as we have tried to bring to the public’s attention all we could collect over time.[22]

Despite his success as a painter, Sureniants had only one exhibition in his lifetime. However, there have been many posthumous exhibitions in his honor, including exhibitions at Venice (1924), Yerevan (1931, 1941, 1960, 2010) and elsewhere.[21] The most recent exhibition was held in 2010 in honor of Sureniants' 150th anniversary.[22] During the exhibition, the Prime Minister of Armenia, Tigran Sargsyan, said that:


Sureniants is often categorized as a realist painter.[9] He once said that "painters must paint life the way it appears in front of our eyes."[18] His style reflected this notion through his depiction of landscapes and historical events. He played an instrumental role in reviving Armenian historical events through the medium of art.[19] Pointilism was one of his chief techniques.[20]

In his early career as an artist, Sureniants became interested in caricatures and sketches during his study at the Lazarian School. While in Munich, Sureniants got into painting and Smbat Shahaziz and Alexander Tsaturyan.[2]

Much of the interior decorations of the Armenian church in Yalta was done by Sureniants

Work and style

In 1917 Sureniants moved to Yalta where he was commissioned to draw the decorations for the newly built Armenian cathedral. Sureniants decorated the altar, walls, and dome of the church.[16] While decorating the church Surentiants suffered a grave illness. He died on 6 April 1921, and is buried in the premises of the Armenian church of Yalta.[17]

During the Armenian Genocide, Sureniants painted many paintings of survivors who found refuge in Russian Armenia.[14] In 1916 he went to Tiflis, where he and other artists such as Mardiros Saryan and Panos Terlemezian founded the Armenian Artistic Society.[12][15]

In 1892 Sureniants visited Ani, Lake Sevan and became familiar with the everyday customs of rural Armenian life.[3][4] In the same year, he went to Moscow where he became involved in many artistic circles.[3] In 1901 an exhibition of his works was held in Baku. This was to be Sureniants' only exhibition in his lifetime.[13] In 1901–02 he sculpted a bust of the Russian Armenian painter Ivan Aivazovsky.[4]

He traveled to Italy in 1881 and visited the island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni where the Armenian Catholic congregation of the Mechitarists is located. In their library he studied Armenian fine art and Armenian manuscripts. He created portraits of Mikayel Chamchian and others. In 1883, he wrote his first article which was published in the Armenian newspaper Meghu Hayastani entitled "A Few Words about Armenian Architecture".[5] In 1885–87, he traveled to the Persian cities of Tabriz, Tehran, Isfahan and Shiraz with Russian orientalist Valentin Zhukovski's expedition.[3][4] After his travels, Sureniants translated William Shakespeare's Richard III and sent it to Constantinople so that actor Bedros Adamian could have it produced.[11] In 1890–91 he taught art history at the Gevorkian Seminary in Armenia.[11][12]

In an attempt to respond to the Hamidian massacres, Sureniants painted a series of paintings which include After the Massacre (left) in 1899 and Desecrated Shrine (right) in 1895.[6][7][8][9][10]

[5][3], receiving more education in painting and ultimately graduating from the academy in 1885.Academy of Fine Arts, Germany where he studied architecture at the Munich That same year Sureniants went to [5] where he graduated in 1879.Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture In 1876, he furthered his education at the [3] located in the city.Lazarian School to the Armenian diocese in Moscow. When in Moscow, Sureniants had an opportunity to study at the prestigious Armenian presbyter in 1868. Sureniants' father was then appointed a Simferopol The Sureniants family then moved to [4] His father, Hakop Sureniants, was a priest and taught religious history.[3]

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