Monument Dedicated to the Armenian Statehood

Author / Authors: 
Davit Stepanyan, Architect

The view that culture is the state ideology of the epoch is only one side of the reality. The history shows that ideology is often interpreted by the artist’s individual principal thinking.

The Armenian culture of 20th century had in all the spheres its devoted personalities who were determined to create independently even during the harsh Soviet dictatorship years. The artist dictated his will to the authorities in a hidden way or obviously and made the society acceptable. The inner conflict and struggle between the artist and the dictatorship did not go out even after 1937. During the years of preaching internationalism, atheism and Leninism the new awakening culture in its multi-layered modulations had such manifestations the content of which was directed to the national values going deep to the centuries. The leading artists gave birth to this phenomenon in Soviet period. Their names are often identified with the 20th century Armenian art. The things which are called “Tamanyan style”, “Saryan style” and “Khachatryan style” can be characterized as new, regenerated Armenian national school having the stamp of individuality.      

That school had its followers and continuers. But not everyone managed to develop its real principles not being implicated by its main nature, the danger of falling into outer imitation. Moreover, few could confront as peculiar individualities.

From mother art branches architecture is the most complicated in expressing individuality and peculiar handwriting.

The buildings and monuments built by Jim Torosyan are among the most original manuscripts of the Armenian national architecture of the 20th century second half and new era. 

Specific Features: 

At the end of “Kaskad” monument the northern part of Yerevan is situated one of these monuments the slender obelisk crowned with gold leaf which was built in 1967 as a symbol devoted to the 50th Anniversary of confirming Soviet categories in Armenia. After ending the construction its architectural image was represented with different comments not contradicting the cultural ideology of those years. The most popular among them that is in the people’s imagination up to now is the spike of wheat.

But in fact Jim Torosyan and Sargis Gurzadyan, the authors of the structure, reflected to a deeper past giving a new interpretation of it. 

The specialist’s skillful eye can notice the skeletal expressions having old Armenian styling in this monument considered as Soviet modernism.

In the whole altitude of 65m one can see that the main dimension of the coloumn having simple square basis is 50m which was the symbolizing figure of 50th Anniversary. This sleek coloumn having minimalistic severety at the end is accomplished with three arch protuberances slightly highlighted. Such ending of the monument dating from Urartu period once symbolized the royal crown. In ancient times all state manuscripts were made on such monuments. Among the most popular examples are Armenian united state founder Artashes the Conqueror’s stoneposts with Aramian manuscripts. 

The next heading construction having 15m altitude is the summing accent of pillar composition.

The latter also cites from old and forgotten image: that is the victorious ending of Urartu towers.   

The stylized maple tree shining in the central and highest part which was considered as spike of wheat, in ancient times had worship meaning and symbolized a life tree. Later on it was used in Christianity keeping its meaning and epressing the idea of Resurrection. 

Thus the thematic invention of the monument is well-aimed for confirming the state category in the aspect of citing the history. Meantime it also hid inside the long dreamed idea of independent, national state system. 

The relation of the monument 50m and 15m altitude and their solutions bring to a new and interesting invention. Surprisingly its image and proportionate system have similarity with cane coloumns popular in Armenian medieval architecture. 

In both cases we can see stalk-like perpendicular coloumn which continues with dipterous invention on a narrower base and has symbolic or worship accent on the top.

Years later Jim Torosyan made such a monument but in small sizes and made wholly from white stone. He built it on one of the cascade right platforms coming to the monument.   

In the sense of art development the cascade obelisk crowned with cross instead of the leaf is more saturated and decorative than the monument of 50th anniversary which revealed its beauty from façade and far areas. It is expressive particularly in siluet perception, though near it has also such workings attractive for the eye which are on the whole typical to Jim Torosyan’s artistic handwriting. 

One of such peculiarities is the tendency of finding common theme with decorative same elements and expressing its transformations. In this case there are few such elements in the form of eternity signs coming out of the wall flatness. Three of these round signs are depicted above on the towerlike wings (one of them is the sun sign).

Four of them stand like wheels on the ground and are inscribed by the edges of the coloumn facets and have 5,4m Diameter. Only the eastern one of these enormous stone slabs has the same sign on one of its wings, but it is small in scope thus distinguishing it from the others.

The idea of putting a new scope in the scope of the existing decorative element was improved in Jim Torosyan’s further works.

One more element of art expressiveness, that’s masonry, is also present in the monument. Usually due to the exuberance and density of lines the architect creating texture on the stone on this high hollow mass was satisfied only with one sentence: “To all whose spirits are burning brightly”.

Charents’ words look lonely but sound dramatic in the desolate plane going entirely up and with their emotional strength enrich the architecture.

On the northernern side the year it was built was carved by the system of alphabetic numeration: “RJKE” in Armenian which is 1967. 

Nevertheless, the main peculiarity of the monument is the leaf, its embellishment, which by the flexible drawing of its curvatures and color activeness somehow breaks the monotony of gray basalt and reflects happy mood. It seems that the leaf enclosed to the stem hardly seen in the far is picked off from the whole. It seems it is in the air like the fire burning on a thin needle of the candle. There is some feminine slimness in it bringing lyricism and quietness in the whole image. Meanwhile its sharp ending gives special slenderness to the monument. Without this leaf the drawing of the monument would be not only unfinished but also the whole very long and stretched pole-like dimension would seem shaky.

Due to Jim Torosyan and Sargis Gurzadyan creative work the millenium history was embodied and got whole new image on the most pivotal eminence in Yerevan. More than twenty years this monument singing the praises of Soviet categories has already been renamed according to its architectural content. It is called monument devoted to the ARMENIAN STATEHOOD. 

Excavated dish with the image of Urartu fortress towers 

Related Images