The majestic panorama of Samarkand, its ensembles of mosques and minarets could be compared with the epic novels. The echo of the past, as if coming through centuries, sounds as the great symphony of Time… Samarkand always inspired the artists. The rich palette of architectural tiles is multifarious and inexhaustible.

Each generation of artists, graphic artists and sculptors disco-vers again the magic world of ancient and ever-young Samar-kand. The artists of the first half of the 20th century, P. Bureh, A. Isupov, Usto Mumin, O. Tatevosyan, P. Benkov, Z. Kovalevsky, V. Ere-myan, N. Kashina, A. Ro-zikov, Ch. Ahmarov, R. Temurov and others were attracted by the daily life, exotics of the East, the original atmosphere of the city and brightly expressed tracery of different cultures, going from the time of the Great Silk Road. The artists aspired to catch everything and reflect that in their works. They created the mosaic combining the East and West, the elements of the medieval miniature and avant-garde of the early century.

The today’s artists, including A. Krikis, A. Isaev, M. Samadov, R. Useinov, A. Temirov, N. Kalonov and others, working in the second half of the century, paid more attention to philosophical reflections as well as to the play of forms and lines, original compositions, plastic and color solutions. Unlike the Bukhara artists, they had the rich art experience of their forgoers, working in the 1920s — 1930s. In Bukhara, the easel painting developed only from the 1970s, what probably caused inde-pendence from the tradition and adherence to avant-garde. In Samarkand, the art process was much determined by the artists, working at the beginning of the century.

The different artistic manners and reliance on the rich national heritage give the original features to the searches of the today’s Samarkand artists. Some of them create the pictures in the socialist realistic style of the 1950s-1960s. Some of them lean to avant-garde or aspire after the European «-isms». The various «artistic springs» form the Samarkand «creative» river, deep and multifarious. Many Samarkand artists created very interesting works. For example, the works of Asliddin Isaev are full of lyrics and romantics. He travels a lot searching for new themes and images, but remains faithful to his native land and art principles. Removing the borders between imagination and reality, the artist tries to express the symbols of the Past and Eternity, Nostalgia and Dream, Love and Life. The cycle of his pictures «The Great Silk Road» (co-authored with T. Salahiddinov), exhibited at the Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages, showed the wide approach to the subject, originality of plastic language and, at the same time, leaning to the tradition of medieval wall painting.

Using the national spiritual and cultural heritage, A. Isaev created lyrical and philosophical pictures and landscapes, connected with the daily life of his people. For example, his works «Wedding», «Harvesting», «The torch of descendants» and «Bakhshi’s song». The pictures «Oriental bazaar», «Destiny», «Autumn», «Tired hunters» and «Three» stand out of time and space. They have no signs of any epoch or place, but they give feeling of the spiritual ties of generations, the dialogue between ancestors and descendants.

The works of Samarkand artist, Mirsaid Samatov are differed with the expressed decorative effect and warm colors. We can feel the influence of O. Tatevosyan, N. Karakhan and S. Abdurashidov in them. At the same time, the artist demonstrates his own original vision of the world, which he perceives emotionally. The dense colors and various shades transfer the motions of his heart. M. Samatov’s pictures «Kishlak», «Sari Chashma», «Listening to the nightingale», «Love song», «Samarkand ushshok (makom)» and «Ghilon» give the evidence for the rich inside world of the artist. «The groom and the bride» and «Three musicians» are performed in the style of miniature painting. «Flight in the lion’s way» sounds philoso-phically. M. Samatov’s powerful artistic potential has the widest opportunities, thanks to the rich and deep color palette.

Interesting are the graphic works by Nuriddin Kalonov, especially such philosophic works, as «On the threshold of the childhood», expressing nostalgic dreams of the author: the gate, formed by the small branches, are on the blossoming lawn under the cloudless sky. The warm pastel tones transfer the romantic mood and bring us back to the trustful and open world of our childhood. The artist aspires to comprehend the life in the pictures of «Game» and «Daily life». The artist had to change his artistic creed in the period of the post-Soviet transformations. Now, N. Kalonov is engaged in painting. His lithographs «Butterfly» and «Dark days» are perfect.

Unfortunately, the life of Andrey Krikis was short, but he left the rich artistic heritage. His personal exhibition, held after his death in 2002 at the Center of Modern Art in Tashkent, gave the evidence that the artist deeply studied the contemporary avant-garde directions. Krikis was born in Yaroslavl. At the age of 26, he moved to Samarkand. The magic East captivated him. Plastically, A. Krikis’s «Lone-liness» is close to the sculpture. The play of the form and yellow, red and black tones in «Meeting» transfer the mysterious combina-tion of signs and symbols.

The works of S. Temurov, A. Temirov and G. Shaimardonov, which earlier participated in an art life of the republic actively, were not represented at the last big exhibitions. That could be connected probably with some problems of their creative searches. The young Samarkand artists are very active today. Dilorom Rakhimova («At the medreseh of prophet Donier») and Sherzoda Samadova («Waterfall») reveal the new sight, unexpected and interesting solutions.

The sculpture is especially popular in Samarkand. Such famous sculptors, as E. Aliev, N. Bandzeladze, V. Degtyarev and A.Shoimurodov worked there. Today, this tradition is developed by T. Yorkulov, T. Esonov, E. Kahharov, Z. Ismailov and S. Mamadiyorov. The personal exhibitions of T. Yorkulov and T. Esonov have been recently held in Tashkent and Samarkand. The exhibitions proved their artistic maturity and progress of skills. Initially, T. Esonov worked in the wood, metal, bronze and gypsum. Now he prefers Gazgan marble. The symbols of the desert, valley, caravan road and the people living on this road («Caravan», » Kizil- Kum Desert», «Daughter of the shepherd» and «Sogdiana») are the major subjects of his miniature compositions.

T. Yorkulov always liked to work in the stone and marble. He pays attention to the image, which is artistically embodied by means of the interesting symbols and solu-tions. Worthy to be noted are the works «Two», «Philosopher», «Ibn Sino», «Tulyagan’s thoughts» and «Bride», reflecting the recollections of the artist and the Sufi ideas. He aspires to escape from insignificant details and to find the precise compo-sitional solution.

The majority of the artists start their artistic way from the achievements of their forgoers and gradually find their own individual way. The artist can become a true artist, only having found own style. The art of the Samarkand artists of the 1920s — 1930s prove that.

However, the problem of individual self-expression seems the most important in the artistic becoming. Samarkand — «the country of colors and forms» could help on this way. The blue sky — above the dark blue, azure domes. The light of stars in the night sky is reflected in the gold ghirikhs on the architectural monu-ments. This poetic world excites every-one. The mountains and steppes, gardens, fields and mea-dows, immortal ancient monu-ments, the narrow streets and ba-zaars — all these ancient images, colours and forms are beyond the abilities of one, even the most talented artist. That is why Samarkand, which was glorified many times, still waits for the new singers, artists and poets, which will find and open new mysteries of this ancient city.

Author: Nodir Normatov