Aram Issabekian, a Meritorious Artist of the Republic of Armenia, a prominent painter and the Rector of the National Academy of Fine Arts, devoted his life and spirit to two nameless Muses; Painting and the Fine Arts Academy. The first guided him throughout his life; the second accompanied him for more than twenty years.

These lines are about his first Muse, Painting, or, rather, Art in general. The choice of vocation did not come by accident. Both his father, Edward Issabekian, a professor and a People’s Artiste, and the mother, Arpenik Nalbandian, as well as his uncle Dmitri Nalbandian, the People’s Artiste of the Soviet Union, were critically acclaimed in Armenia and across the former Soviet Union, notably in the Russian and Georgian artistic communities.  Aram Issabekian is their worthy heir.

Outwardly smooth and straight, his creative career was not really an easy one. His ordeals would have devastated many, and could have changed the course of his life. He was 12 when he lost his mother, Arpenik Nalbandian, who cherished and encouraged his talent for drawing. She took him on his first drawing trips. His father, Edward Issabekian, played a no less important role in his creative career. Edward Issabekian played an equally powerful guiding role in the careers of hundreds of his former student artists. Famous, decorated academicians and those who earned no titles but were no less talented never failed to express their gratitude and always spoke warmly of Edward Issabekian.

It is almost too obvious a statement that classical precision is the antipode of the romantic element.  This obvious statement is nonetheless always and unfailingly accurate. Rubens’s figures, Delacroix’s historical scenes and the liberation of color from the domination of lines, the Impressionists’ tonal values (les effets de valeur) guided Issabekian the father. Issabekian the son, on the one hand, was more interested in the life of objects, while curiously nostalgic about the metaphysics of the Middle Ages, with their Knights and myths; definitely a new phenomenon in Armenian visual arts. Issabekian the senior found inspiration in matters heroic, historic, womanly. Issabekian the junior sought inspiration in Caravaggio, the Dutch still lives, Velázquez, Goya and why not, Morandi, de Kiriko, Picasso, Delveaux and Garzou.

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