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Ruben Nalbandyan Biography
The love of the arts has been passed to us by genes, since both of my brothers and my son are also sculpturists. Since my childhood I had a great passion to paint and to sculpture. From 1980 to 1983 I studied in the Glass Department of Decorative Arts Faculty of the Fine Arts Institute of St. Petersburg (Russia) After Mukhin. Later I worked in the Sculpture Department of the Yerevan Fine Arts Fund, where I have both worked and studied under the leadership of famous sculpturists. After getting enough experience I continued my education in the Decorative Applied Arts Department of Yerevan Naghash Hovnatan University. Through the years I was assured that I have found the occupation, which is my calling and my passion. I love the stone, and I try to give my feelings and thoughts to the stone and to express them through it. My works are very different: monuments, sculptures, statues and particularly cross-stones. I am the author of a number of monuments and cross-stones, which are located both in the various cities and villages of Armenia and abroad. I made the first cross-stone in 1987(the 1st of about 350 new cross-stones (2-3,5 meters of height). The art of cross-stones is unique to Armenian people and it has a history of many centuries. Through this unique art the Armenian people express its identity and communicate with the other peoples of the world. On 2005 His Holiness Garegin II Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians ordered 37 cross-stones on the occasion of the 1600 anniversary of Armenian Alphabet, 36 of which are imaging of 36 letters of Armenian Alphabet and the Mother Cross-stone, which includes the all 36 letters on itself. These beautiful and unique cross-stones are located in the backyard of St. Mesrop Mashtots Church in Oshakan village. St. Mesrop Mashtots is the creator of the Armenian Alphabet (406 A. C.). The mentioned cross-stones are amazing innovations in the history of the Cross-stone art of Armenia. On 1988, when a horrible earthquake happened in Armenia, which stole more then 25,000 lives, many countries helped us. I had an idea to donate cross-stones to these countries as the expression of our gratitude. On 19 August of 1993 a contest and symposium of sculpture was held in Belgrade. Many sculpturists including myself from 15 various countries took part in it. My cross-stone, made from marble, took the 1st place. It was a miracle and new breathe for Europe overflowed with abstract. It helped Europeans to recognize the identity of the Armenian nation, which is although a small nation, but it has great spiritual values and cultural inheritance. The Armenian type of cross and the Armenian writings are prevailing in my cross-stones. Our language and faith kept us during the centuries. At present I own an art studio, where also my son and my brothers continue to develop and spread the art of our grandfathers all over the world.I want to express my deepest gratitude to the great Armenian architects and masters of Cross-stone art Vetsik of Kecharis Monastery (13th c.), Momik of Noravank Monastery (13-14th cc.), Yeritasard of Makaravank Monastery (13th c.), Poghos of Deghdzout Monastery (13th c.), Grigor of Goshavank Monastery (10th c.), etc.If you would like to know more about the history of the development of the Cross-stone art, I can provide more detailed literature.
1980-1983 Fine Arts Institute of St. Petersburg (Russia) After Mukhin, Decorative Arts Faculty, Glass Department1983-1994 Yerevan Fine Arts Fund, Sculpture Department (Armenia) 1994-1998 Yerevan Naghash Hovnatan University, Decorative Applied Arts Department (Armenia)
1993 January 22 Golden Medal from The Union of
Culture and Education of Serbia– For
the donation of cross-stone to Yugoslavian
aviators, who died accidentally flying to
Armenia to help Armenian people on 1988
horrible earthquake.
1993 August 19 Diploma of the 1st place -
Contest & Symposium “Stone and Voice”
Belgrade, Yugoslavia
2005 Souvenir from Lujkov, the mayor of Moscow
2006 Medal “Commander Andranik” From the State
of Armenia
Selected Commissions/collections:
1. His Holiness Garegin II Supreme Patriarch and
Catholicos of All Armenians
2. George Balasanyan, President of the Council
of Donors of the Armenian Community of
Florida, USA
3. Mekhitarian Brotherhood of Venice
4. St. Stephan Church of New York, USA
5. University of Milan, Italy
6. Armenian Church of Roma
7. Armenian Church of Karakas, Venezuela
8. Present to the Mrs. Meteran, France
9. Bulgaria, on the occasion of 90th year of the
commemoration of the Genocide of Armenians
10.Budyonovsk (Russia), the monument dedicated
to 20 innocent people killed on June 1996
Group Exhibitions:
1993 August 19 Contest & Symposium “Stone and
Voice” Belgrade, Yugoslavia
2003 Spring Etchmiadzin, Armenia- Spring
Artist's Statement:
I am a sculpturist and a make sculptures of different sizes and different types (monuments, sculptures, statues, portrait sculptures, etc.), but my passion is the Cross-stone art. Various foreign scientists are being acquainted to Armenian arts through our architecture, miniatures, and especially cross-stones. The Armenian cross-stones are unique with their rich decorative content, various compositions and harmony of images symbolizing flora and fauna. Presently many of my cross-stones are situated in many countries, which symbolize the close friendship of those countries and Armenia. In last years I realized my idea to make and to donate cross-stones to various states, which helped us after the horrible earthquake on 1988. I call these cross-stones “Cross-stones of Gratitude”. I donated also many cross-stones to the heroes of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh and to the martyrs of 1915 Genocide of Armenians in the desert Der-Zore. I call these cross-stones “Cross-stones of Memory”. Through the art of cross-stones we Armenians communicate with other peoples. In Armenia the cross-stones are being made from different types of stones: basalts, marbles, etc. However for Armenian cross-stones we uniquely use the Armenian stone “Toof” with its different colors (black, red), but the grey color and the color of Armenian apricot are dominating. The cross-stones have specific sizes, which the master must know and must be very careful to keep them. As a modern master of the Cross-stone art I consider the requirements of the client during the preparation of each cross-stone as much as possible and put new elements and thoughts in the composition. Thus each cross-stone is unique. Since the cross-stones belong to the class of spiritual monuments, their decorations, excepting the cross and the “Vardnyak” (special decoration), can be derived from miniatures, icons, fauna and flora. Each one has its special reason and explanation. Lithographs also can be placed on the cross-stones, which show the occasion or the event on which this cross-stone is made, the name of the master, the date of preparation and the name of the living place of the master. If a cross-stone is made, it becomes a place of pilgrimage and a sacred place for everybody, it does not matter who is the author and for whom it is made.