Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris. 1960
Oil on cardboard
“Paris - with its charming architectural ensembles of squares, boulevards and streets...they have always been so enchanting, with their tender lilac hues. My sketches depicting these places were made in a small format. I tried to give them a certain finality, as far as time allowed. I wanted to convey some sense of this beautiful country." This text was written by Khachatur Yesayan as the preface for an exhibition of his work organised in the House of Artists in Yerevan. At that time, in 1978, the artist was presenting a series of works from Paris that had been inspired by his European travels - they were a rarity, of course, for Soviet citizens at the time. France and nature, Paris, the embankment of the Seine, the passing clouds, the colour tones and flecks of sunlight, – all that has always been so inspirational to the landscape painter, calls here for the painter's canvas. A poet of tender palette, and a master of theatrical design, Esayan was a true connoisseur of colour. Khachatur Yesayan painted Notre Dame in a decorative and refined manner, matching colours, making them appropriate to the grandeur of the medieval architecture, the stone fretwork, and the colourful stained glass. In the best traditions of French Impressionism, the dominating violet stains either transformed into gray and brown colour combinations in portraying the walls, doors, and towers, or gravitated towards gold and pink in the cloudy skies and buildings stretching off into the distance, or peeping through the greenery of trees and the clear smooth waters.