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Book coverBy Sylvia Bourdjian – Matta
Azad-Hye special
"The Art of Andrey Antonyan" is a newly published book depicting Andrey’s art in 3 branches: Paintings, Iconography and Restoration with views from various art critics. The book is rich in photos illustrating the artist’s works.
I met him in Aleppo in 1993 when he came to restore the old holy icons of the Forty Martyrs' Cathedral and stayed until 1997. He was invited by Archbishop Souren Kataroian (then Primate of Aleppo and the surroundings until 2003) to restore and revive 25 paintings that were produced from 17th - 19th centuries and represented the expression of Armenian thought and creativity in Aleppo.
Antranig (Andrey) studied in Tbilisi’s (Georgia) Art Academy. Later in 1978, he graduated from the Institute of Arts and Theatre (Department of Design) in Yerevan, Armenia. His art as painter / restorer is multi-colored and greatly influenced by different art schools. In his paintings you can see Armenian and Georgian influences. His artistic interests don’t cover only the modern but also the past; not only painting but also frescos, design and wood carving. His colors are blunt, bright and vivid; he uses red and yellow sparks and fire-like lines. Men and women - in contrasts - are portrayed in his various paintings. The silhouette of the human body is presented in such a harmonious way. 
With the years Antranig adopted several themes for portrayal. He implemented Christian art in his icons. His recent paintings depict clowns and maternity. His works have a secret meaning, which represents his own world in a unique language, and through his colors on the canvas he portrays his own thoughts, feelings and emotions.
In 1982 he was among the restorers of the Hovnatanyans’ paintings at the Cathedral of Holy Echmiadzin. He was also there in 1992 (2nd phase) and in 2000 during the last phase of the restoration works. Andrey’s icons are found in different Armenian churches in Armenia, Artsakh, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, France, England, Italy, USA and Canada.
Andrey is a unique iconographer. He combines classical iconographic rules with the ancient principles of the Armenian thought. His uniqueness lies in the fact that his concepts and figures go back to the sources of the Armenian medieval paintings and to the Hovnatanyans. Colors are chosen with taste and delicacy, preserving the Armenian traditional palette.
Since 1982, he is the director of Arts Department in the Treasury Museum in Holy Echmiadzin.
I asked him the following questions about his new book and art:
At restoration work in Aleppo
At restoration work in Aleppo (1995)
Why have you decided to publish a book now? Tell us how you came with the idea to squeeze your art into a book.
There’s a stage in an artist’s life, when he feels the need to show his gift and creations, to portray his soul and its ups and downs throughout his life. I have been painting since 30 years and never aimed at any fame or praise; I was doing it only for the sake of my pleasure and not to delight others or to achieve any selling. This is why my art is multi-natured and multi-styled, and it can be divided into 4 stages:
1) Academic free style paintings and iconography.
2) Stylistic, figurative and colored style paintings.
3) Surrealistic art.
4) Decorative and artistic styled paintings.
Five years ago, I had the intention to publish a book celebrating 25 years of my art, but unfortunately that was not possible. Only in 2007, and with the help of the Kaprielian Family, my dream was realized and a book of 30 years artistic creation was born.
Which painting of yours is close to your heart? Please explain.
For me all my paintings are dear and lovely, because they are all episodes of my life’s happy and sad moments, my soul’s multicolored sensations portrayed with the help of my brushes. In them all, hidden and unexplained sadness and thoughts are to be seen veiled by color shades and lines.
In your book, many critics praised your painting "Seasons of the Year". What is so unique about it?
"Seasons of the Year" is interesting in its illustration of human thoughts, expressed through the fervent colors of the four seasons with an Armenian touch and colored symbolism.
The restoration work in Aleppo and your life from 1993-1997 must have been different, adding a new flavor in your art. I know that Aleppo for you has a special place as you frequently visit it. What connects you to this city?
The hard life in Armenia between the years 1993-1997 gave me a chance to restore and give a new flavor to the icons in the 40 Martyrs church in Aleppo. By getting in touch with late Middle Ages Armenian icons, I developed a new interest for researching and demonstrating this art. Restoration is not only about the revival of the past but it is also an exploration attempt. You do not only heal wounds, but also live in the lives of those old masters who produced the icons. I am very thankful for this opportunity that left an everlasting mark in my life.
  Are there people nowadays interested in iconography and the restoration of icons as a profession in Armenia? How do you see the future of this noble and important work?
An interest in iconography exists on the amateur level in Armenia. The economic situation is not in favor of appreciating iconographers and professional restorers. The number of professional iconographers is limited and their work is hardly valued.
Where do you see yourself best: as a painter, iconographer or restorer?
Restoration on one side is a difficult and heavy job involving nerves, thorough examination and brain. It is also poisonous (chemically speaking). For all those reasons, you cannot physically feel well. On the other side, Restoration is a very interesting job that satisfies your soul. It also gives an immense pleasure to paint new icons, because here there is a chance to create, pray and research and once finished it is blessed in the church. It gives the artist a great satisfaction.
In one word, with each work I feel revived, happy, satisfied and relieved.
Antranig Andonian (Andrey Antonyan) is an appreciated and respected person everywhere and specially for Armenians in Aleppo, and in particular to my family. I congratulate him for the new book, also wish him all the success he deserves and look forward to see his new works soon.
For those interested in having "The Art of Andrey Antonyan", please contact his daughter Armine Antonyan at the following email.
Self Portrait 1982
At Aleppo Market 1995
Self Portrait 1982
At Aleppo Market 1995
"Seasons of the Year", 1987
St. Nerses the Graceful (1628), unknown painter (Restored work) Lvov armenian church icon for altar, Ukraine (2000)
St. Nerses the Graceful (1628), unknown painter
(Restored work)
Lvov armenian church icon for altar,
Ukraine (2000)
In the circus, 2007
Armenia on wood, 1978
In the circus, 2007
Armenia on wood, 1978
Photo slide in YouTube:

Posted on Saturday, December 08, 2007 (20823 reads), comments: 2
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Posted by sylva portoian on Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Dear Andrey

I have a poetry book on genocide completed for publication.

I am urgently looking a paiting for the cover of the book.

Please if you have one, send to and I am ready to pay if I find it suitable to publish.


Sylva Portoian

Posted by Rein Tiit on Saturday, September 05, 2009

Dear Andrey,

Best wishes to you from Estonia and more wonderful paintings!

I visited Armenia long time ago.


Rein Tiit 

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