Today marks the 90th anniversary of the great of Minas Avetisyan, a renowned Armenian painter of the 20th century. Born in 1928 in Armenia’s Jajur village, Minas Avetisyan was a painter and set designer. From 1952 to 1954, he studied at the Institute of Theater and Art in Yerevan, and from 1954 to 1960, at the Ilya Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg).
He benefited from the advice of famous Armenian painter Martiros Saryan, but developed a style of his own, with an intense use of color similar to that of Fauvism. The influence of Armenian medieval art is strongly apparent in his landscapes, self-portraits and scenes of peasant life. His work combines an uncommon and expressive richness of color with a dramatic monumentality of composition. In 1962, he had a one-man show in Yerevan, and another in Moscow in 1969. In 1972, a fire in his studio destroyed a large portion of his work.
Avetisian is one of those Armenian artists who put the color back into painting. “Put the color back into painting”-such an expression might seem strange, but if you go into the Matenadaran and look through the yellowed pages of the ancient manuscripts there, you will understand what is meant: there on the parchment, in all their splendor, shine the bright, sonorous colors- blue, yellow, green, red… Color plays an enormous role in the work of Avetisian. Some of his pictures are unequaled in contemporary Armenian painting in the intensity of their colors.
In 1974, the artist designed the sets for Aram Khachaturian’s ballet Gayane at the A. Spendiarov Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet in Yerevan. Following his death in a car accident in 1975, a museum devoted to Avetisyan opened in his native village.