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Hakob Kojoyan

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People's Artist of the Armenian SSR (a state title from the former Soviet Union) HAKOP KOJOYAN (1883-1959) was one of the founders of Armenian Soviet drawing who also worked in the genres of painting and applied art.

Born into the family of an Armenian jeweller in Akhaltsikhe (now in Georgia), Kojoyan was trained in the engraving, goldsmith's arts while yet a boy. In 1903-1905 he studied at the school of Anton Azbe in Munich-Germany, then for two years at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts in Russia. In subsequent years he visited Paris, lived in Moscow and from 1918 in Armenia.

The contents of the artist's works is closely connected with his native Armenia.The inexhaustable source of his inspiration were Armenian epics, folk tales and legends. His favourite hero is the legendary warrior and defender of the people David of Sassun, whom he portrayed in a water-color of the same name (1922), a painting (1958) and in drawings for the two volume book - The Madman of Sassun - (1935).

His illustrations for Zaryan's (saryan?) fairy tale *Hazaran Blbul* (The Nightingale of a Thousand Voices, 1925) are notable for their immagination and charming naivety, while those he did for a collection of Armenian folk tales (1954) are full of impish humour. The artist's ornamental compositions for book covers, title pages, flyleaves, head and tailpieces witness to his profound acquaintance with medieval Armenian manuscripts (The Poems of A. Vshtuni,1934; The songs of Sayat Nova, 1945; Selected Works by Isahakian, 1947). Kojoyan's easel drawings are characterized by infinitely delicate and elegantly drawn lacework patterns, often introduced to surround the subject compositions (The Armenian Herald, 1921; The Women of Akhaltsikhe, 1922; The Phoenix, 1958). Many of his canvases portray scenes from the everyday life of Armenian villages (The Village of Aparan, 1923; A Mountain Stream ,1946) and many are landscapes of the Ararat valley and other parts of Armenia.