The Merkurov House Museum
In order to learn the history of today’s Gyumri and feel the spirit of former Alexandropol the available volumes of history books and ethnography are not enough. A visit to one of the most famous art centers in Gyumri, located at 47 Haghtanaki Street, Sergey Merkurov house-museum, is a must to visit.
Of Greek heritage, Merkurov was born and educated in Gyumri and subsequently became one of the most important monumental sculptors in the USSR.
The Merkurov house-museum was opened in his family house of Gyumri in 1984. After the earthquake people resided there, but in 2003, it was renovated by the Lincy foundation and then it reopened as a museum.
Sergey Merkurov is an author of more than 300 death masks, the first of which is the Catholicos of all Armenians Mkrtich Khrimyan who died in 1907. Merkurov used the masks as a basis for many of his sculptures. “Mask is a historical document of great importance,” once noted the Master Sergey Merkurov. In 1953, his novel "First Mask" was published in the book “Sculptor’s notes” describing the first step to the creation of the rich collection of death masks. The bulk of his works is dedicated to casts of the wax death masks of prominent people of the time, including writers Leo Tolstoy and Hovhannes Tumanyan, composer Nikolay Scriabin, the author of the play “The Bedbug” Vladimir Mayakovski, political and state figures Lenin and Georgi Plekhanov - 70 death masks in total.
Arshak Manukyan, the director of the Merkurov house-museum in Gyumri, says that Merkurov’s works are phenomenal in the development of Armenian sculpture and that the creation of monumental memorials of renowned people in pre-revolution Russia is associated with him today.
Before his death Merkurov gave this house to the city as a gift with the request that it should serve art. Sergey Merkurov’s art and philosophy are living evidence and proof of his wisdom.