The canvas “Komitas: the Last Night” by Sargis Muradyan (1927-2007), was one of the first to broke the long silence of the memory of the Armenian Genocide. The work was fatal for both the artist's future activities and raising the Armenian Genocide issue.
Sargis Muradyan graduated from the Institute of Fine Arts (now the Academy of Fine Arts) in 1951 with a diploma work "The Battle of Avarayr". However, the work was rejected and replaced by a work on the Stalin theme (now presented at “Sargis Muradyan” gallery).
Five years after this "failure", in 1956 S. Muradyan paints the canvas “Komitas: the Last Night”, which in the future would have to be greatly appreciated and paves the future way for the artist. During those years, the theme of the Genocide was not touched, and the work “Komitas: the Last Night” turned to be one of the first figurative expressions about the Armenian Genocide.
The canvas was presented for the first time in 1956 in the frameworks of the "Ten Days of Armenian Art and Literature" in Moscow. Initially, of course, the Armenian jury rejected the presentation of the canvas in Moscow. The reason was that “Komitas: The Last Night” and the theme of the Armenian Genocide expressed in it would be a disclosure for the Russian society. Fortunately, at Hakob Khanjyan insistence, who was the head of the Art Department of the Ministry of Culture, the canvas was sent to the exhibition, where it received great attention and discussions.
Touching upon Muradyan's canvas “Komitas; The Last Night”, one of the experts, Russian painter Boris Ioganson points out the abundance of red: “…if the carpet on the floor had been painted with greenish or bluish shades, it would be beneficial for the entire painting structure”. However, Ioganson did not take into consideration or did not want to emphasize the symbolic meaning of the red by Muradyan, through which the artist showed the blood of the Armenian people. Muradyan aimed to raise the theme of the Armenian Genocide throughout Komitas’ image.
Generally, Sargis Muradyan was one of the first to direct the thematic genre in Soviet art to the national history. Later Muratyan dedicates a series of creative works to Komitas: “Komitas and Hovhannes Hovhannisyan in Echmiadzin” (1957), “Komitas and Hovhannes Hovhannisyan talking with villagers” (1957), “Komitas, April 1915” (1965), “Antuni” (1969).
AGMI junior researcher
The program form of the final concert of “Ten Days of Armenian Art and Literature” events, Moscow, 1956.
The photo; National Gallery of Armenia
People’s Artist of the Republic of Armenia