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Visual Arts

There are enough art galleries, artists’ studios and house museums to fill several weeks in Yerevan. Miniaturisation and microsculpture is a peculiarly Armenian pursuit, with a number of impressive artists, including Eduard Ter-Ghazaryan of Sisian, whose pieces require a microscope to be appreciated; you can see examples of his work at Sisavan Church.

Martiros Sarian is one of Armenia’s most famous painters, and a museum in Yerevan preserves his studio. Suitably enough, a Sarian sculpture in a Yerevan park is the focus of Yerevan’s art market, where painters gather to offer a critique of each other’s work and sell their paintings. Most of the paintings have religious iconography or capture familiar Armenian landscapes. Yervand Kochar has his own gallery filled with portraits nearby on Moscovyan Poghots.

Yousef Karsh was one of the great portrait photographers, and once achieved a famously defiant photo of Winston Churchill after snatching away his cigar. The illustrated manuscripts preserved in Yerevan’s Matenadaran and the libraries of Echmiadzin are testament to centuries of monastic endeavour. The brilliant dyes gleam today from the pages of thousands of manuscripts, prepared with rare dyes and preparations that were state secrets in classical and medieval Armenia. Some highly skilled calligraphers create copies of classic images like the Annunciation, which can be bought in Yerevan.

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