This is Ashot Melkonian

By Gwylym Owen

Image of Ashot Melkonian
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Ashot Melkonian (Armenian: Աշոտ Անատոլիի Մելքոնյան; February 28, 1930 – December 9, 2009) was an Armenian artist associated following Neorealistic artistic style and Honorary Artist of the Republic of Armenia. He mainly devoted himself to landscape and portraits painting, as competently as murals. He is one of the founders of Neorealism in Armenian art.

Ashot Melkonian

Art critic Shahen Khachatrian referred to Melkonian as “an artist of the generation of the 1960s that provided a further impetus to the move on from Armenian art. Reality is a characteristic feature of Ashot’s art.” Honorary artist of Armenia Hakob Hakobian referring to Melkonian wrote “a brilliant composer of scenes, an author of exquisite portraits and landscapes, a master of gentlest and subtlest painting … Melkonian is the pride of our painting school.” According to art critic L.S. Zinger (Moscow), Melkonian’s art is “a fusion of humanistic tradition and his Armenian outlook.”

The permanent exhibition at the Armenian National Gallery has two paintings by Ashot Melkonian, the family of and springtime. Boy with Book, painted in 1970, is a smaller portrait, following the tone Ashot Melkonian sets with his painting Family. This painting, a core of Melkonians oeuvre, is at once a genre painting and a group portrait.

Ashot Melkonian again captures the viewers attention by the atmosphere of the painting, transporting them into a young man’s world, communicating his spirit, and inviting them to hear the melodies of human soul. As Ashot Melkonian sketches out the features of the face, he investigates and perfects the idea behind the portrait, finding shades which will best represent his ideas, and give expression to their substance and significance.

ashot melkonian family portrait

During his early years, Ashot Melkonian benefited immensely from the powerful influence of Melikset Svakchyan, one of Armenia’s most talented artists and scenic designers. His mother, an artist and teacher, taught him to love and understand music, while his uncle, who was a stage designer, introduced him to painting.

It delighted me enormously when, still at Leninakan, I met two young artists, Onnik Minassian and Ashot Melkonian, who came from Yerevan to mature in Shiraks world, and who bore the unmistakable marks of the honest race. Ashot Melkonian is an Armenian painter associated with the Neorealist art style and a Honourary Artist of the Republic of Armenia. Art critic Shahen Khachatrian has called Ashot Melkonian as an artist from 1960s generation who provided new impulses for Armenian art.

In 1976, he participated in an exhibition by Armenian artists in Buenos Aires. In 1975, participated in an exhibition Sarian & 13 Armenian Artists in Bologna & Bari, Italy.

Manookian was the oldest of three children born into an Armenian Christian family in Constantinople. In the portrait by Enovk Nasariant, we see the exquisite details of Armenian costumes of an ancient Caucasian city. Historian Ashot Melkonian Research interests include historical demography of Republic of Armenia, the history of Javakhk, and Armenian-Georgian relations. In the conclusions Ashot Melkonian points out, there is no question about the undeniable recognition of western Armenia by the Treaty of Sevres, and this fact continues to be a foundation for the aspirations of the Armenian nation.

In the Armenian Panel, Ashot Melkonian contextualizes the Treaty of Sevres in the context of Allied Power competition which took place in the years following the First World War. In a short 1930s-era video, Avedis Aharonian (President of Armenias first republic parliament) reminded the Armenian nation of the significance of the Treaty of Sevres for the Armenian cause. Prof. Ter-Minassians introduction raised a number of points about the Treaty which remain to be clarified; namely, its inability to take into account territories claimed jointly by Armenians and Kurds, and its implied recognition of the Armenians Western orientation as the leading adjudicating party regarding Asia Minor/Transcaucasia.

According to the Director of the History Institute at the Armenian Academy of Sciences, Ashot Melkonian, any scientific discussions with Turkish scholars would be disrespectful to the decisions made by certain European countries which recognized the genocide.

The third conference would involve Armenian scholars, but also foreign scholars. Central Executive Council Member, Alesya Bejanian invited a first panel, which included speakers Dr. Ashot Melkonian(not the artist), Edyk Minassian, and Dr. Haarpi Babikian, presenting sequentially the role of women in their national awakening, in Armenia’s founding as a first republic, and in governance within that First Republic.

YEREVAN – On 24 May 2022, Central Executive Board of Armenian Relief Society The Armenian Relief Society organized a 2-panel conference to mark the centennial of the First Republic of Armenia, discussing and evaluating the all-inclusive role of Armenian women in our national renaissance up until the 21st century. The topics discussed were Western Armenian Issues, the Armenian Question, Armenian Genocide, History of Jawahk, Armenian-Georgian relations, Historical Armenian Demography.

One of the tax-payer lists shows that most areas in Javakhk are populated by Christian people, who have either Armenian or Georgian names, as well as names shared by both peoples. In Akhalqalaq city alone, 600 Armenian and Georgian families were registered.

Already in June, the Armenian republic managed to distribute wheat received via railways with the people facing hunger in Akhalqalaq. Georgian authorities have levied hefty customs duties on grain exported to Armenia, as well as that shipped to Akhalqalaq, which is destined for both Armenian and Georgian refugees. The Armenian Committee in Tbilisi tried to offer military aid to Jawahk.

General Von Kress and the rest of the leaders of the Armenian republic had to take into account the fact that the more willingly the Armenian side showed itself to accommodate, the more the Ottoman Government became unconvincing about Akhalqalaq and the issue of Lori. It is also telling that, in numerous letters addressed to Soviet Armenian authorities–petitions which you cannot read without feeling sympathy and emotions–the Akhalqalaq Armenians described the nightmare conditions in their own region, and expressed their belief.

Ashot Melkonian was an important contributor to the Armenian culture and should be remembered for his achievements in a country that has suffered much throughout the years.

Exhibitions

  • From 1957 to 1978, participated in various national and international exhibitions in Budapest, Bucharest, Sofia, Prague and Korea.
  • In 1975, participated in an exhibition “Sarian and 13 Armenian Artists” in Bologna and Bari, Italy.
  • In 1976, participated in the exhibition of Armenian Artists in Buenos Aires.
  • In 1977–78, participated in “Soviet Armenia” exhibition in Denmark and an exhibition of contemporary Armenian art in Lisbon.
  • From 1980 to 1987, participated in several international exhibitions, including 5th International Biennale in Kosice, Czechoslovakia, exhibition of Armenian Art in Moscow and Leningrad, 4th International Triennal of Contemporary portrait in Radom, Poland. Participated in the exhibition of 50 Armenian Artists in Paris.
  • In 1982, held his personal exhibition in Rhineland Pfalz, Germany.

The permanent exposition of the Armenian National Gallery has Ashot Melkonian’s two paintings – “Family” and “Spring”. Another painting – “Rest -Mother with child” is kept in The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

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