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Hakob Ananikyan.The most picturesque city’s artist

        Hakob  Ananikyan is an artist with original talent (1919-1977). He has explored his aptitude since 1966 when leaving his birthplace Leninakan he settled in Yerevan. However in his works of art he remains faithful to his own city, infinitely recalling in memory old Gyumri,events and figures, life and lifestyle, unrepeatable soul and spirit, personages and juicy characters of indigenous dwellers of Gyumriwhich have left and passed long ago in the past of Alekpol-Aleksandrapol.The canvases of Ananikyan are worked outpainstakingly, well-elaborated in the terms of plasticity, distinguished with a dense brushstroke, a thick coloring lamination.The painter gingers restrained, dark earthy, red and brown, silver, gloomy and black tones and museum dismal backgrounds with brighter, brisk and luminous,  nearly sparkling color spots. The dominating obscure keynote has not a dramatic, gloomy, but a calm, serene, chamber overtone.

            From the first sight it would seem that the instinctive element was prevalent in Ananikyan’s art. This assumption comes from externally spontaneous, free, moreover, which may sound paradoxicalin a sense from a masterly and contemporary manner.  Nevertheless the painter has adjusted the composition, clarified the drawing for a long time, before transmitting into the oil painting and only then he started painting vigorously, inspiringly, following not so to the explicitness of a drawing, but a veritable brushwork oil painting which we often betray to the oblivion. The artistic brushwork in Ananikyan’s canvases is not converted into a vain attraction and a potty nuancing, but gains an equal tension. The painter sometimes has applied to the affects, but they have never become end themselves, they have been explored during the painting itself and fascinate with an extraordinary straightforwardness resounding on the dark background the brightness of the beaming color spots.

        The works done in the oil painting technique are medium sized, often compact, executed on a cardboard or a canvaswith heroes and undistinguished characters who are acting or simply observing the viewer, they are all common people with their daily routine, city’s crafting and retailing stratificationscomprising traders and bakers, shoemakers and horseshoe makers, workers of station depot and workers at the building area, coachmen riding chaises in the narrow streets of the city, famous heroes of popular poetics, urban witty folklore, jokes, etc.The works of Ananikyan are warm, absorbed with a harmless humor, with situations and events which sometimes leave a ridiculous impression, ceremonies inherited from ancient times, become a custom, transformed into a rite, like scenes depicting parties, feasts, meetings with friends and family. These are genre scenes characterized with several strokes. One of the best works concerning this theme is “PolozMukusch” who is represented in a black traditional garment (taraz) of Gyumri, sitting on a chair in a solemn position, with a glass of wine in his hand, surrounded by wine barrels.

          It seems that the hero will animate and start his toasts and acuteness with Gyumri’stypical humor. “The Baker Simon” is more pensive character. In this work the coloring is solved in hues of a wheat color, yellow and brown which emphasizes the idea of a bakehouse (tonratun), the profession of a baker. The viewer feels unwittingly the smell of a tonir’s bread. The hands of a baker are outlined, it seems he sits thoughtfully in his bakehouse to take a rest. Like in Ananikyan’s other works the personage is in a traditional garment of Gyumri which even more heightens the accentuation ofthe nationalconstituent . From the examples of the representation of traditional garments of women’s of Gyumri are works “The Bride”, “The supplier of milk.” In the latter there is an interesting architectural background, a house in Gyumri with a wooden balcony. Ananikyan represents Gyumri in a dark, dramatic colored image which though is not a somberly pessimistic. In his works the painter aspires not only to the explicitness of ethnographical details, but also to the transmission of an admirable city’s atmosphere with a help of not a usual black-silver coloration. The severity of coloring atmosphere, condensation also springs up from the senses, souvenirs such asa caldron extinguishing on the burnt stones, blacked due to the fire soot, black chaises, black clothing of respectful people of Gyumriwith a gloomy, lightly glistering silver belt and finely superb houses made of black tufa and decorated with rich sculptural ornaments. This is how Hakob Ananikyan represents Gyumri to us and this is how we see his native city in his numerous canvases and can not deny, not to lovesincerely those heartwarming prosaic poems, absorbed with the shades of humor and melancholy,so typical for the world of memories. The value of his art is accomplished in the fact that it was not based on the knowledge of other artists’   achievements, but on his own  senses and perceptions and relation with his own nation’s not distant past.

Translated from Armenian.


ԱղասյանԱ.,Հայկերպարվեստիզարգացմանուղիները 19-20-րդդարերում. Ե., 2009

ԻգիթյանՀ.,ՀովնաթանյանիցՄինաս. Ե., 2011

ԻգիթյանՀ.,ՀակոբԱնանիկյան, կատալոգ. Ե., 1978

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