From the recently published Autobiography of Stephan Bagradian regarding his time at Ani, witnessing the building of the new capitol:

"When I first arrived at Ani, it was a barren, lost place with a real soul. The ancient Armenian poem fit it well:


 Ani sits and weeps,

There is no one to say; "Don't cry, don't cry".

You think it's nothing, let her stay and cry,

Oh! When will I hear "Don't cry, don't cry"? 

I am on fire with so much pain, I burn,

I have no one loyal to trust.

Who would approach this wretch?

Who will ever say "Don't cry, don't cry"?

Less than a decade years later, Ani was fully transformed in to a decadent mess of concrete and soulless modernism masquerading as sophistication. Gone are the hermits, monks and shepherds who tended the silent nights where the only sounds that could be heard was the wind rustling across the Anatolian plain. And what did we get in return?  An urban jungle where fascists used to parade ceaselessly and now religious zealots grow beards. Progress and “making meaning” out of the meaningless are two things that I despise."

Ararat from Ani 1925                                            Ani Boulevard 1927                                             Road Building 1927

Worker's Lunch Break 1925-26                             The Forge 1927                                                   Machines of The New Republic 1926

Like all of Bagradian’s early works, these paintings survive only by accident. Paintings that the Armenian Democratic Republic disliked, they gave away. Sadly, after the Autocephalous Patriarch took over, the gifted paintings were the only ones that survived as iconoclasts destroyed many of Bagradian’s works. The painting “The Forge,” above was recently acquired by the Museum of Stephan Bagradian as it had been presented to the Soviet Republic of Birobidzhan in 1931 as a token of friendship and was spotted and identified by a National Geographic photographer in 1980 in the Worker's Presidium.

As noted above, almost all of Bagradian's paintings were destroyed, but recently two new paintings have been found, see them on the next page.

PREVIOUS            NEXT