Olav Maran (born 20 October 1933 in Tartu) is an Estonian artist.
In 1953 he began his studies at the Estonian Academy of Arts of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic. Maran studied together with Peeter Ulas, Herald Eelma, Heldur Laretei and Silvia Liiberg, who later become his wife. In 1959 Maran received an MA in Graphic arts. Between the years 1959-1965 he worked as designer and caricaturist for the journal “Pikker”.
Maran started to participate in exhibitions in year 1959. In the beginning of his career, Maran was very interested in modern art movements. He executed his first abstract paintings between 1957-59, the first surrealistic work „Prospect“ was painted in 1959. In the 1960s Maran experimented with different modern styles, wanting to introduce the experiences of modern art into Estonian art. His main medium was oil painting, but he also used gouache, tempera, pastel and collage. Being one of the leading avant-garde artist, Maran gave lectures and published articles about modern art.
At that time, Maran exhibited in public exhibitions mainly with simplified-form townscapes and still life paintings. His motifs have been taken from the less representative areas, especially these from the beginning of 1960s, when he lived close to Paper Mill and painted the factory itself and the surrounding neighborhood.
In 1968, Olav Maran experienced a religious turn, that changed his understanding of the world and artistic values. From that period he has mainly depicted realistic landscapes, flowers – amaryllises, lilies, peonies and still lifes in the style of old old masters. In these paintings he shows his regard towards the nature and ordinary objects, giving them inner harmony and deeper-ethical meaning. Olav Maran’s masterful painting technique makes the objects seem real in everyday environment.