Ara Arutyunyan

Ara Arutyunyan

Armenian sculptor-monumentalist, People's Artist of Armenia
Date of Birth: 28.03.1928
Country: Armenia

Biography of Ara Arutyunyan

Ara Arutyunyan, an Armenian sculptor and monumental artist, was born on March 28, 1928, into a family of musicians. His father was a bassist and a member of the State Opera Theater choir. As a child, Arutyunyan had a keen interest in painting, especially the works of Vrubel. His fascination with sculpture began when he carved a female head out of a piece of tuff using rudimentary tools he found in a village.

After completing the seventh grade, Arutyunyan enrolled in an art school, initially studying painting but later switching to sculpture during his third year. In 1948, two of Arutyunyan's student works were exhibited in the foyer of the Spendiaryan Theater.

Following his graduation from the art school, Arutyunyan was admitted to the Yerevan Art and Theater Institute, where he graduated with honors in 1954. His diploma project was a bronze monument of Komitas, which was later installed on the composer's grave.

Arutyunyan's early works included the Belinsky monument (1959) and portraits of an elderly man and a girl (1957). In his later works, the sculptor developed his own style, conveying character, mood, and features of his subjects without excessive detail. He achieved this through the skillful use of simple forms, which gave his works a sense of monumentality. One of the pivotal works in his career is the sculpture "Portrait of Ida Kar". His subsequent works combined the adept application of national ornamentation with simple yet plastic and expressive forms. These include the Zangezur Liberation Heroes monument (1960), a low basalt stele with ornamentation; the Gegharda lioness; and an obelisk commemorating the soldiers of the 89th Taman Armenian Division who died during the liberation of Sevastopol (1961), a collaboration with architect D. Torosyan.

In 1963, Arutyunyan created one of his most famous works, the Sayat-Nova monument, in collaboration with architect E. Saropyan. The monument features a wall made of blocks of white marble, with openings through which the head of the minstrel emerges. On the opposite side are reliefs depicting women from three Caucasian nations.

In 1966, Arutyunyan completed the portal of the Armenian Academic Theater. The portal stands at a height of 5 meters and features a female figure of victory and rebirth on the left, masks symbolizing drama, comedy, and wisdom above the portal, light dancing female figures, and the head of a woman wearing traditional attire. On the top right is the head of King Artavazd II, who established the first Armenian theater in the city of Artashat in 53 BCE.

In 1967-1968, Arutyunyan created the "Mother Armenia" sculpture, which was installed in Victory Park in Yerevan. In 1968, together with architect Rafael Israyelyan and sculptors Samvel Manasian and Arsham Shahinyan, he created the monument to the heroes of the Battle of Sardarapat, located 25 km from Etchmiadzin, where the Armenians achieved victory over the Turkish army.