|Titre : ||Armenian ex-libris / auteur(s) : Spartak GHAZARIAN - |
|Editeur : ||Book lovers of the Armenian SSR|
|Année : ||1984|
|Imprimeur/Fabricant : ||Yerevan|
|Description : ||13 x 16,5 cm, couverture illustrée en couleurs|
|Collection : || |
|Notes : || |
|Autres auteurs : |
|Sujets : ||Catalogue of Armenian ex-libris, with reproductions|
|ISBN : |
|Lecture On-line : ||non disponible|
From the beginning of this century, the art of designing book-plates has been an inseparable part of Armenian art. To this field famous artists like Vardges Surenyants, Mar-tiros Saryan, Hakob Kojoyan have brought their participation. The number of artists who have devoted themselves to the art of book-plates may be counted a few dozens, some devoting only part of their creative efforts, and some who have devoted themselves totally. These artists have created many significant works covering all the thematic subjects of ex-libris — heraldic plates, monographs, print-title pages, employing all the available means; xylograph, zincography, linography, etching, etc.
Presently the first most well known Armenian bookplate belongs to Vardges Surenyants, prepared for Theodor Bulgakov, printed in St. Petersburg in 1902 in V. A. Vereshchagin's book called "Russian book-plates". The original copy of this work of V. Surenyants is now preserved in the National Art Gallery of Armenia. It depicts an owl sitting on a skull with a caption in French "What is said, is done". With these symbols the artist has intended to express the idea, that books impant wisdom to man in pursuit of worth-wile activities.
It is true that Vardges Surenyants's work was first brought to the attention of the public in 1902 but probably it was created earlier. Therefore, the date 1902 is provisionally accepted as the date for the beginning of the art of Armenian book-plate. The acceptance of V. Surenyants's work as the first example of Armenian book-plate is also provisional. Unfortunately, the many thousands of Armenian medieval manuscripts and early printed books have not yet been studied in order to discover book-plates though it is more than probable that such may exist. We base this supposition on two evidence. First: in the colophons of medieval Armenian manuscripts and early printed books which provide various details, also include information regarding the owner of the manuscript or the book. Second: the colophons are frequently illuminated. Thus, they possess the two distinguishing characteristics of the book-plate -i. e. ownership and illustration.
In addition to the above mentioned book-plate, Vardges Surenyants has designed two other book-plates, the first for A. A. Alderoge and the second for A. E. Schmidt. The latter by virtue of its conception, attractive subject and vast skill of execution, is one of the best examples of bookplate not only in Armenian but international art. While admiring this work one is transferred to the world of books, most likely into the sea of books, in which a ship is depicted in motion in full sail, with the caption "Ex-libris" and Schmidt's monogram. This intelligent picture is accompanied by an equally well selected caption inscribed on the waving strip of the mast "Try everything, select the best".
In the pre-soviet period besides Vardges Surenyants two other artists have created book-plates. Garegin Yeritsyan in 1909 and 1911 has designed two book-plates for Hovhannes Toumanian. Most probably, the poet approved both the designs otherwise he would not have used them for his personal library. The other artist is Gourgen Khounounts, who between the years 1910 — 1920 has designed over twenty book-plates. These were made for people of varied nationalities and specialities. In the main these have thematic subjects, employing the classical principles of art. These book-plates express not only the inner world of the owner of the book-plate, but also their depth of content and unique theme lead to profound reflections.
During the soviet period, the changes that have taken place in the social life of the people, the high level of literacy became new stimulus for the development of the art of making book-plates. It roused the interest of distinguished artists such as Martiros Saryan and Hakob Kojoyan. The former in 1928 designed a book-plate for the bibliophile Levon Oureklyan and the latter for Hasmik Harutcy-unyan (1927) and D. D. Azelitsky (1931).
Between the years 1920 — 1930 several artists joined the profession among them Pavel Kouzanyan, Gigo Shar-babchyan, Maria Kalamkarova, Sergey Chakhirian, Nazeli Teryan, Mikayel Aroutchyan. These artists have left their mark not ont by their prolific contributions but also because they remained loyal to the principles of the national spirit.
The book-plates of G. Sharbabchyan are characterised by their use of armenian ornamental engravings, their refined execution, realism, while M. Kalamkarova's works display interesting concepts, carried out through witty solutions and humour.
The most prolific artist of this period was Pavel Kouzanyan, who from 1925 to this day continues to create new and original book-plates. It is now over a decade that he has crossed over to the tipe-print and he has achieved such skill, that it seems he has reached near perfection. He is also an accomplished creator of thematic-subject bookplates. Such a book-plate he created in 1936 for Remain Holland. When the renowned French writer and aesthete received the book-plate, he sent the artist his signed photograph with a request, if possible to multiply and send him the complete edition. The artist willingly complied with the writer's request.
Another artist who played a prominant role in the development of the Armenian art of book-plate was the artist Rouben Bedrossian, who not only designed the book-plates but also encouraged his collegues to follow his example. Within the period of 40 years he has produced over 105 book-plates, of which 104 are wood-block engravings (and one lythograph). He created his own style which is characterized by simplicity and depth, the delicate synthesis of black and white, punctuated by delicate half-tones. Every line has its meaning, through which the artist by the least means has expressed a great deal. R. Bedrossian does not indulge in long winded expressions, but instead always tries to be natural and realistic, heart-felt and poetic. The whole picture is illuminated by an inner soft light which comes forth out of the artist's inner self. At the same time R. Bedrossian pays great attention to the content of his creations and does everything possible within his limits to express as accurately as possible the profession of the owner of the book-plate, his inclinations and temperament. With this the natural beauty of his country, its national architecture and fine arts are all expressed in their classical grandeur, stressing the armenian character, of the artist and the monumentation of his work.
Ashot Mamajanian has created more than 300 bookplates. In the main he has employed two techniques, zincography and linocut. The animal world real or imaginary, armenian architecture, miniature" and scenes from nature have their permanent place in his book-plates. In them one almost always sees dynamic motion, the appreciation of beauty, which is often expressed through the portrayal of beautiful female figures, the depiction of serious moments from life, bright imagination, quick wit, ready-mindedness which are wholly revealed particularly in book-plates intended for children. These are probably A. Mamajanian's more successful works in this field.
Mikayel Baghdassarian's book-plates are executed within the framework of the realistic tradition, refined to the last detail. These are works of thematic-subject nature, full of content and poetic associated with Armenian life and nature of his homeland. In all his works Mikayel Baghdassarian has tried to make full use of the available space in the picture, leaving no wasted space, expressing all the preferences and speciality of the owner of the bookplate and in this he has invariably succeeded.
Successful exemples of Armenian book-plates has also been created by Haick Mouradian, Aram Zakarian, R. Mna-tsakanian, Hakob Zhamagortsian, Levon Manasserian and others. There are a great many other artists as well, but we cannot name them all. In this book we have included 160 works of only 31 artists.
Every art has its national source, from which it flows like the mountain spring. The same is true of also the art of Armenian book-plates, which having originated from Armenian art expresses the national colour and psychology, the conception of the world, freely using the elements of the culture of the homeland and its natural unique beauty. This has long since been an established feature, or rather an accumulation of features which every Armenian artist inherits the moment he devotes himself to the art of creating book-plates.