The Armenian Alphabet in a Dutch Engraving from 1690

The Armenian Alphabet The Armenian culture, literature, and history have always been at the center of attention of European art historians and publishers.

Dutch painter, engraver, and poet Jan Luyken lived and worked in Amsterdam in the late 17th – early 18th century.

His most famous works are the illustrations for the five-volume cartographic atlas “Nieuwe Lichtende Zee-Fakkel” published in 1681, the second reprint of “Martyrs Mirror” (1685) with his 104 engravings, and “The Book of Trades” (“Het Menselyk Bedryf”, 1694), in which the artist realistically depicted people of various professions surrounded by objects of their labor.

In 1690, Jan Luyken created a series of exceptional engravings that depicted the fonts of the world’s oldest alphabets. On one of the engravings made with great artistic taste, next to the Coptic alphabet and Chinese characters was Mashtot’s Armenian alphabet denoted with the title “Armenisch Alphabet”.

The series of engravings with ancient alphabets has been published several times in Amsterdam by scientist Wilhelmus Goeree. Luyken’s series is considered the first printed work where foreign alphabets were complemented with their Latin names.

Aside from Armenian, Luyken’s series of engravings also includes the Syriac, Phoenician, Egyptian, Hebrew, and many other alphabets.

«Հայեվրոպական մշակութային կենտրոն» հիմնադրամ (“Armenian-European Cultural Center” foundation)

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