Among the most distinguished individuals in Armenian art, Karen Smbatyan is distinguished by his originality and has been given the name “Knight of colors” by art lovers.
He is presented to the viewer with his art full of exceptional energy, original way of thinking and unique painting.
The most renowned art critics and painters of the time wrote about K. Smbatyan’s art with admiration and profound reverence, considering his art an unprecedented, national, universal and a secluded phenomenon in Armenian fine arts.
His works have found their worthy places in various art galleries, museums and exhibitions around the world, such as the Art Gallery of Armenia, Museum of Literature and Arts of Yerevan, “Art Modern” in Washington, “Arshile Gorky” in Paris, “Zimerley” Contemporary Art Museum in New Jersey, “Richard Manoukian” in Detroit and in many art galleries of different countries and private collections.
Karen Smbatyan viewed the surrounding world with a unique look, found the medium of painting objects and life that is characteristic only to him. His newly-seen seemingly simple paintings are built in non-traditional ways of perspective. Objects in the works of the artist are illustrated with unique approaches, stabile positioning, amazing bold combinations or contrasts of red, blue, yellow, white and other colors: sometimes with different shades of the same color, and sometimes even with a few local colors. In Smbatyan’s canvases color always corresponds to the form, irrespective of whether it is a realistic portrait or an almost unrecognizable, abstract image. In the artist’s art, the classic and contemporary are presented together, expressing the author’s moods and emotions – sometimes stormy and irreconcilable and sometimes quiet and soft.
Karen Smbatyan was born in Gyumri in 1932. He studied at the Panos Terlemezyan State College of Fine Arts. From 1952 to 1956 he served in the navy forces of the USSR, in the Baltic Sea, where the early stage of the artist’s creative activity began. After graduating from the college in 1957, he continued to study the creative heritage of Armenian and world masters, especially, Armenian miniature painters of 12-14 centuries. It is obvious that the artist’s art has been fed from the origins of Armenian classical painting.
Karen Smbatyan also worked successfully in the field of book graphics. By his design were published such children’s magazines as “Tsitsernak”, “Pioneer” are, also, “Sasna Tsrer” epos, E.Isabekyan’s novel “Igdir”, works by H. Tumanyan, Kh. Aghayan, Gianni Rodaria, Armenian and Arab folk tales, etc. These graphic works have a subtle combination of colors, taste and national attributes.