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Fascinating pictures of Armenians in love with the Russian north

An artist with an exotic Russian ear named Janna Tutunjan was born in the heart of Russia – in Moscow in the autumn of 1931. No one could have imagined that a talented graduate of the Surikov Art Institute would decide to take and go to her husband’s home country, to the village of the Vologda region. And that it is life in the village — more precisely, the way Gianna will capture it in her drawings and paintings — she will glorify Tutunjan and the land of Vologda.

Janna Tadzhatovna has always been opposed to being designated either as a schedule or as a painter. It is better just an artist: for a true artist there is no division, how to draw, there is only the very image that he seeks to create. “I feel like a tree: graphics are my roots, painting is my crown …”
Tutunjan died quite recently, in 2011. Her creative legacy has made six hundred drawings and paintings that you do not get tired of studying and revising. Expressive, glowing shades of some special purity, they are warmed by love and to people, and to the earth around them. Especially a lot of her paintings of female images. One can not help remembering the expression: “Baba Rus holds on.” Strong, hardworking, supporting each other, girls and women of Gianna Tadzhatovna themselves – the embodiment of northern village Russia.

Janna confessed that in life terms a person is very happy. But in the creative – everything is chasing and chasing after what “looms”, and will not catch up with everything, and this gap torments her as an artist. It’s hard to believe in looking at her pictures. It seems that the images in them perfectly express both the thought and the feeling of the artist, causing the viewer to be infected with them.

Once Tutunjan was asked how she would draw happiness. Janna Tadzhatovna, thinking, said that in the form of motherhood. It is rather an instinct than Happiness, but it is felt precisely by happiness that cannot betray you. Then she made a reservation: she cannot yet. In general, she summed up, happiness is when your soul is understood.

Janna Tadzhatovna was amazed at how Vologda’s residents met her when she first came to see this land in her twenty years. It was expected that a person with such an alien name would not be believed, would not be trusted. But Nothing of the kind Tutunjan noticed. And with the land Vologda almost immediately grown together. In Moscow, she felt like a stranger, a black sheep, and here she turned into her own. Isn’t it a miracle?

In the homeland of his father, in Armenia, Janna also visited, but only once. She really liked Armenian songs. In Russia, she said, the songs are designed for the field, on a huge plain, lingering and sad. In Armenia – on the mountains and the sun, high, hot, faster. And of course, as an artist, Armenian architecture conquered her. Armenia remembered a long-time children’s desire to become a sea captain. See people, hear them so different songs … But for an artist there can be a whole world and one village, and even, as for Vermeer, one workshop.

Janna Tadzhatovna was lucky with her husband. He was not jealous of her talent, did not devalue, did not try to bury, as often happened with the husbands of artists in history. Always half the housework, half the care of children took over. It is not surprising that Tutundzhan and her husband lived in perfect harmony throughout their lives. True, neither he nor she could indulge children with cuts: what can you do when both are artists! It so happened that Janna cooked mashed potatoes, and her husband – sausages, and the children are sitting, surprised. “Mashed potatoes! What are we, princes, some? ”But such love always reigned in the family that the children did not feel deprived. Is it surprising that so much love is on the canvases of Gianna?

Tutunjan’s paintings remind of the magic lace of Tamara Yufa’s drawn fairy tales. Why Soviet collectors chased them, it becomes clear at a glance.

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