This Week in Armenian History

BIRTH OF HAKOB KOJOYAN (December 13, 1883)

Renowned painter and book illustrator Hakob Kojoyan is also famous for being one of the authors of the coat of arms of the first Republic of Armenia.

Kojoyan was born on December 13, 1883 in Akhaltskha (Javakhk) to a family of a jeweler. In 1890, he moved with his family to Vladikavkaz (Northern Caucasus), where he worked as a jeweler while attending the local school at the same time. Upon completing his studies he went to Moscow, where he frequented Brusov’s workshop and specialized in engravings.

In 1905-1907, he continued his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts of Munich, following which he went to Paris to further his education.

After his return to Moscow, he was conscripted in 1909. In 1912-1914, he worked in Moscow. He was conscripted yet again in 1914 as First World War broke out.

In 1918, Kojoyan settled in Armenia, where he participated in the Ani excavations of that year by Nikolay Marr and his team. His impressions in the ancient capital of Armenia were later reflected in his painting “The Ruins of Ani” (1919). In 1918-1920, he worked with the Ani archeologists’ team in Armenia.

Kojoyan and architect Alexander Tamanian designed the coat of arms of the Republic of Armenia, which was adopted by the government in July 1920.

He left for Persia after the rebellion of February 1921 was crushed and settled in Tabriz. In 1921-1922, he taught architecture in the studio set up by Alexander Tamanian. He returned to Yerevan in 1922, upon the invitation of the Soviet Armenia government.

Along with architect Garo Halabian and painter Sedrak Arakelian, Kojoyan worked in the Armenian department of the Russian telegraphic service, producing posters and caricatures. In 1923, his work was awarded a diploma of the first order in Moscow.

In 1924-1930, Kojoyan taught painting in the technical department of the Yerevan State University, whereas after 1930 he continued his work in the then newly founded polytechnic institute of Yerevan. In 1935, he was distinguished with the title of People’s Artist of Armenia.

Hakob Kojoyan is famous for his illustrations of the “Daredevils of Sasun” epic. It is with that work that he began to be considered the founder of the Armenian book illustration. Among his well-known works are those he made for Hovhannes Tumanian’s “Gikor” and “The Master and the Servant,” and Yeghishe Charents’ “The Book of the Way,” Aksel Bakunts’ “The Sower of Black Fields,” and others. One of the outstanding works of latter years is the illustration of Tumanian’s “Parvana” legend.

In 1945-1954, Hakob Kojoyan taught at the Fine Arts and Theatre Institute of Yerevan. He died in Yerevan on April 24, 1959.