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Since St John’s: Tatyana Kalaydjian Serraino

Posted on Jun 24

3 min read

Tatyana Kalaydjian Serraino (2015) is an Italian/Danish/Armenian Art Historian and Freelance Broadcaster and Content Creator based in London. She is the founder of ‘About Art by Tatyana,’ a social media channel that makes art history accessible through YouTube documentaries, TikTok shorts and online courses.

My passion for art was born at a young age. At the King’s School in Canterbury, Art History instantly became my favourite subject. The classes took place in a dimly lit, cluttered attic and consisted of free- flowing conversations sparked by close observations of paintings, sculpture and architecture from past times.

I quickly began to realise that Art History comprises a wide range of skills, ways of thinking and areas of study. It involves art, psychology, history, politics, theology and philosophy. It requires you to look closely, to think critically, to research scrupulously and to discuss open-mindedly.

Studying Art History at the University of Cambridge (St John’s College) was a wonderfully enriching experience. I became particularly enthralled by Russian art, and decided to focus my undergraduate dissertation on the painted demons of the Russian fin-de-siècle artist Mikhail Vrubel.

After graduating, I moved to Rome to pursue a Master’s degree in Art History at John Cabot University. There I discovered my passion for Italian Baroque art, particularly the works of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Caravaggio and Artemisia Gentileschi.

Tatyana in a sunny Italian square.

Shortly after completing my Master’s, I began creating documentary-style videos on works of art to share my passion for the subject, offer a fresh twist on known works of art and make the discipline as a whole more accessible.

Art History has often been regarded as an elitist subject. By foregrounding the stories behind works of art, I hoped to change that perception and show that deciphering paintings is not only fun, but also incredibly enriching. Paintings, sculpture and architecture reveal so much about how we as a species have perceived and visualised our reality over time. As I often say: art history is the study of humanity over time. This project also allowed me to combine my love for the discipline with my long-standing passion for filmmaking.

My YouTube channel offers detailed discussions of famous and less-known works of art from around the world, including those by Armenian artist Sarkis Hamalbashyan and Cypriot artist Stass Paraskos.

Tatyana poses in front of her 'About Art' logo.

My TikTok shorts, on the other hand, strive to link works of art together in fun, thematic ways (e.g. ‘three paintings that are not what they seem’), answer questions (e.g. ‘how much was Michelangelo paid to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling?’), and provide entertaining yet educational how-to-tutorials (e.g. ‘how to recognise the female artist’).

I continued creating content in Rome for a few years while completing a second Master’s degree in Arts and Culture Management at Rome Business School and working as a writer, tour guide and art consultant.

‘About Art by Tatyana’ now has a combined following of 420,000 followers across YouTube, TikTok and Instagram. The initiative has led to some incredible partnerships, including collaborations with the National Gallery in London, Perrotin Gallery in New York, Bottega Veneta in Milan, LEGO Art in Denmark, Netflix Queue and, most recently, the BBC.

Rob and Rylan’s Grand Tour is a three-part travelogue exploring the educational trips around Europe undertaken by British aristocrats from the late 17th century through the early 19th century. The series also explores the transformative power of art in the cities of Venice, Florence and Rome. I appear in Episode 3 (Rome) as Rob and Rylan’s ‘cicerone.’ In the episode, I meet Rob and Rylan in Antico Caffè Greco, Piazza di Spagna, and in the Chiesa del Gesù to discuss the Counter-Reformation and its influence on art. It was an honour to speak about my favourite art movement and an all-round thrilling experience that solidified my passion for broadcasting. The episode aired on BBC2 on Sunday 26 May, and the full series is now streaming on BBC iPlayer.

Tatyana stands with her arms around Rylan Clark and Rob Rinder from BBC's 'Rob and Rylan’s Grand Tour'. They are in Antico Caffè Greco and lots of works of art and mirrors adorn the wall behind them.

In January of this year, I moved to London with the aim of continuing to create content and expanding my reach. I am also currently working on a book that examines paintings united by the theme of heartbreak, and I am conducting research with the aim of pursuing a PhD in the near future.

You can find out more about Tatyana’s work on her website and social media channels.


TikTok: @tatyanaaboutart

Instagram: @aboutart.tks

YouTube: @aboutartbytatyana