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Gevorg Bashindjagyan
The artistic career of Gevork Bashindjagyan, the patriarch of landscape painting in Armenia,spans more than four decades.

It began in the 1880s, when his native land was a part of the Russian Empire, and ended with his death in 1925, eight years after the establishment of Soviet power.

Gevork Bashindjagyan was born on 16th September 1957, in Signakhi, a small town in eastern Georgia. In 1957, a large group of artists, poets and journalists came to Signakhi to mark the centenary of Bashindjagyan"s birth.

"The seprentine road ascends steadily," wrote one of them,"and I keep wondering what made people build that town so high in the mountains.

They must have sought safety up there and perhaps they just loved their dwellings to be almost level with the highest peaks of the Caucasus... It is a place of undisturbed tranquillity.

The mountain air is cool and heady." Zachary Bashindjagyan, Gevork"s father, was one of the best-educated men in Signakhi, although the life-style of his family did not differ much from the simple ways of other townsfolk. A warm-hearted out-going man, he was endowed with extraordinary linguistic talents.

Apart from his native Armenian, he was fluent in Russian, Georgian, and Persian, and was frequently engaged as a guide and interpreter by merchants travelling from Georgia across Armenia to Persia. Gayane Kulidjanova, his wife, taught her own children and those of her neighbours to read and write.

All the members of Gevork"s large family were avid readers and ardent lovers of poetry. His father was an amateur poet himself and took great pleasure in reciting his verse to his children.

He wrote down his best poems in a thick notebook and Gevork illustrated them with scenes from fairy-tales and folk legends. The father"s notebook was for many years reverently preserved by the son.

Zachary Bashindjagyan died in 1872 during a trip to Persia. Gevork was fifteen at the time and studying at the local school.Bashindjagyan finished the Arts School with flying colours.

His graduation certificate described him as a highly promising student who would do well to continue his studies at the Academy of Fine in St Petersburg. The young man decided to try his luck and left for the Russian capital in 1878.

In the autumn of 1879, Bashindjagyan successfully passed the exacting entrance examinations and became a student of the St Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts.

The huge, impressive building on the Kadetskaya Embankment, which he had long known from postcards, was now his Alma Mater where he was going to spend the following three and half years.

His life in St Petersburg was even harder than back home. He was granted "...a monthly allowance of eight roubles which was berely enough to pay for bread".

In 1882, he was forced to become an external student; although his tuition was no longer free, he hoped to make a living by selling his paintings.

Bashindjagyan"s tutor was Mikhail Klodt, a man of democratic convictions and one of the organizers of what is known as the Peredvizhniki Group or Itinerant Exhibitions Society.

Having found an excellent teacher of drawing and composition in Klodt, Bashindjagyan soon discovered other masters he wished to emulate.
He completed his studies at the Academy in 1883. His graduation work, "Birch Grove", won him a silver medal.

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Writer: News
Editor: Eugenia Melkonyan
 Date Added: Wednesday August 02, 2006 12:55:54 

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