Hakob Hovnatanyan was born in 1806 into the Hovnatanyan family of painters that included five generations of artists from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Hakob was a representative of the last generation of the Hovnatanyan painter, learning the arts from his father (an icon painter). The family descended from Shorot village, in Nakhichevan (old Armenia). Hakob himself was born in the old Tiflis but was forced to move to Iran where he stayed till his death in 1881. More than fifty of the artist’s portraits painted from the late 1820’s and the early 30’s down to the 70’s, have been preserved. Hakob Hovnatanian achieved an accomplished technique as a portraitist in the 40’s and particularly the 50’s.The artist had acquired widespread fame but rather short-lived success with clients among the Tiflis bourgeoisie. Hakob Hovnatanyan’s artwork was well forgotten after he died. Only when Armenia became a more established state did his canvases start showing up in the collections of the State Art Gallery of Armenia in Yerevan and the Fine Arts Museum of Georgia. Hakob Hovnatanyan’s work is profoundly national and at the same time has its individual profile. inspired by his work the critically acclaimed Armenian art film director (Sergei Parajanov) made a short film based on his work entitled Hakob Hovnatanyan.
Some of prominent work by other members of Hovnatanyan family