Soviet and Russian art historian, specialist in the history of Russian and Soviet fine arts, corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences Department of Literature and Language (art studies and the theory of culture) from 23 December 1987, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences from 11 June 1992, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Arts from 1997.
The numerous articles, essays, notes and introductions to catalogues written by D.V. Sarabianov can be viewed as inseparable parts of one general text forming a sort of tree with its root system and crown rather than as separate works. Sarabianov’s legacy is characterized by a special systemic approach. The theme of tradition and continuity of Russian art of the 19th and 20th centuries is one of the most meaningful binding structures of that system. It was his general examination of the two centuries of Russian art through the prism of tradition that enabled Sarabianov to formulate the fundamental methodological problems such as Russian art in search of its essence and identity, genetic memory of art, the ethical aspect of Russian art and, finally, the problem of style that became pivotal to the dialogue between Russia and the West.
Inspired by the idea of liberating scholarly thought from narrow dogmas and taking it to the big time, Sarabianov produced his multidimensional model of the history of Russian art and laid the groundwork for Russian art studies to attain the needed “radiant” planetary dimension. Sarabianov was the first to propose many descriptions and definitions characterizing one stage of the history of Russian art or another, individual local masters, and the choice of relevant epochs (trends and creative personalities) of Western art. This willpower for synthesis was rooted in Sarabianov’s characteristic unity of profound intellect, high moral standards, keen sense of nature and poetic gift.