The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a family of Armenian artists that was prominent from the 17th to the 19th century. The founder of this family of artists was Ovnatan Nagash.

Akop and Arutiun Ovnatanian. Sons and pupils of Ovnatan Nagash.

Akop Ovnatanian was born in 1692, and his date of death is unknown. Arutiun Ovnatanian was born in 1706 or 1707, and his date of death is not known. The brothers painted miniatures for manuscripts. Together with their father, they painted the murals for the cathedral in Echmiadzin.

Ovnatan Ovnatanian. Born circa 1730; died 1801 in Tbilisi. Son of Akop Ovnatanian.

Ovnatan Ovnatanian was court painter to Iraklii II. He and his pupils painted new murals for the cathedral in Echmiadzin. From 1782 to 1786 he produced a series of paintings of saints and compositions on Gospel subjects for the cathedral. Some of these works, done in oils on canvas, are in the Armenian Picture Gallery in Yerevan.

Mkrtum Ovnatanian (also Avnatamov). Born 1779 in Tbilisi; died there 1845. Son of Ovnatan Ovnatanian.

Mkrtum Ovnatanian painted religious pictures. He also produced a cycle of portraits of Armenian kings and military leaders (King Trdat, 1836, Armenian Picture Gallery).

Akop Ovnatanian (also Iakov Avnatamov). Born 1806 in Tbilisi; died 1881 in Tabriz or Tehran, Iran. Son and pupil of Mkrtum Ovnatanian.

Akop Ovnatanian was one of the founders of Armenian portraiture. In 1841 he received recognition from the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts for his portrait of E. Golovin. His portraits retain several traditional elements of Armenian art: the static quality and calm poses of the figures, the minute rendering of details, and the enamel-like smoothness of texture. They are marked by a psychological treatment of poetic subjects, sometimes with a trace of romantic melancholy, and by a restrained palette, based on the delicate combination of warm and cold tones. Ovnatanian’s works include portraits of N. Teumian (Armenian Picture Gallery), E. Gurgenbekian (Armenian Picture Gallery), G. Karadzhian (Museum of Art of the Eastern Peoples, Moscow), and the Melnikovs (Museum of Fine Arts of the Georgian SSR, Tbilisi). All the above-mentioned works were probably executed in the 1840’s.

Agafon Ovnatanian (also Avnatamov). Born 1816 in Tbilisi; died Mar. 23 (Apr. 4), 1893, in St. Petersburg. Son of Mkrtum Ovnatanian.

Agafon Ovnatanian, a painter and engraver, attended the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts from 1836 to 1843. He worked in St. Petersburg. He made lithographs from portraits by his brother Akop, as well as lithographs of racehorses.


Brat’ia Akop i Agafon Ovnatanian (exhibition catalog). Moscow, 1952.
Kazarian, M. Khudozhniki Ovnataniany. Moscow, 1968.
Akop Ovnatanian i ego predshestvenniki (exhibition catalog). Yerevan, 1969.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The edited screen tests of the unfinished Kiev Frescoes [Kievski freski] (1966), a project that aimed to represent the impact of the Nazi occupation of Kiev twenty years after the fact, and Akop Ovnatanian (Yerevan Documentary Film Studio, 1967), a short eponymous film about a nineteenth-century Armenian portrait painter, mark Parajanov's initial experiments with a sustained tableau aesthetic.