Armenia Painting and Miniature

By | June 2, 2022

According to topschoolsintheusa, the pictorial art took on very diversified aspects in Armenia due to the geographical and political fragmentation of the country. Monumental painting was rarely used due to the prevalence of the Monophysite tendency among the local clergy; this type of decoration developed instead in the eras and in the regions where the influence of the council of Chalcedon was most felt (451). On the contrary, the miniature experienced a continuous and important development. 7 ° many of the Armenian churches were decorated with paintings, some completely (Mren, from 639-640; Aruč), others only on the eastern wall and in the apse (Lmbatavank ‘, Koš, T’alin); only the cycle of Lmbatavank ‘, with Christ in glory and holy knights, is well preserved. The four well-known miniatures of the Evangeliary of Eǰmiacin (Erevan, Matenadaran, 2374), with the representations of the Annunciation to Zechariah, the Annunciation, the Baptism of Christ and the Adoration of the Magi. Conforming to the paleochristian symbology, they testify to a Hellenized oriental culture. The era of the Armenian kingdoms (9th-11th century) is not characterized by any pictorial tradition. In the reign of Ani, wall painting was excluded for fear that the faithful, influenced by it, would adopt the chalcedony heresy, identified with the cult of images. In eastern Syunik ‘, where the bishops wanted to preserve their independence from the Catholicosate of., Some churches were decorated during the 10th century. The historian Step’anos Orbelian gives some details on two of them: the decorations of Gndevank ‘, of which only one foot of Christ remains in the apse, were the work of the Armenian ēŁišē, while those of Tat’ev, consecrated in 930, were due to artists “of Frankish nationality”. There are still some fragments of the Last Judgment and the Nativity of Christ which actually testify to the contact with post-Carolingian Western art. The use of mural painting in the reign of Vaspurakan must be traced back to the influence of the Council of Chalcedon: Gregory of Narek left the description of the hagiographic cycle that decorated the church of Aparank ‘(c. 983), of which only traces remain in the plaster, as well as in the St. Thomas of Ganjak. -921), in which the representations of original sin (Stories of Adam and Eve) and of the redemption (Life and Passion of Christ) contrast with the external sculptures to make the palatine church of King Gagik a work of great prestige. The king had in fact surrounded himself with artists of various origins and the style of the decorations can be traced back to that of Abbasid Mesopotamia. An itinerant painter, bearer of the same oriental tradition, can be attributed an isolated Crucifixion in the monastic church no. 7 of Sabereebi, Georgia. At the end of the century 11th dates back to the decoration, promoted by the last rulers of Vaspurakan, of the small church of Kaputkoł, which included Christological scenes and two princely portraits, one of which depicting Davit ‘Ardzrouni. Alongside wall painting, the production of illuminated manuscripts developed in this period, which found their models in proto-Byzantine specimens (as in the case of the Evangeliary of Queen Mikĕ, ca. 862, Venice, Bibl. Armena dei PP. Mechitaristi, 1144 ; or of the more recent miniatures, from 989, of the aforementioned Evangeliary of Eǰmiacin) or in contemporary Byzantine miniatures (Evangeliary of King Gagik of Kars, ca. 1050, Jerusalem, Armenian Patriarchate, Lib. of St Thoros, 3556; Evangeliary of Mułna, Erevan, Matenadaran, 7736, and a whole series of manuscripts of the 11th century deriving from the latter). At times Greek painters also collaborated in their realization, as for the Trebizond Gospels (Venice, Bibl. Armena dei PP. Mechitaristi, 1400).

Finally, the so-called manuscripts multiplied popular in which the Byzantine elements and those of the Muslim environment blend in an original way and in variable proportions: this is the case, for example, of the stylized representations of animals and characters in the Sanasarian manuscript, dated 986 (Erevan, Matenadaran, 7735), or the Baltimore Gospels (Walters Art Gall., 537) of 966, which can be compared to the figures painted on Samarra pottery. In the century 11 °, finally, a type of illuminated decoration with bright and original colors appeared, as in the Taron Gospels, of 1038, and in that of Melitene, of 1057 (Erevan, Matenadaran, 6201 and 3784). After the Turkish invasion and the state of war of the century. 12th, Great Armenia fell under Georgian and Mongolian rule, while Little Armenia became an independent kingdom from 1198 to 1375, characterized by a Mediterranean and cosmopolitan culture. After the council of Sis (1204) decreed that images of Christ and the saints were no longer considered pagan, some churches were decorated in the northern provinces: in Ani, the cathedral and the church of the Savior, where some paintings by an artist remain. Armenian, Sargas P’arč’ik (ca. 1291). Georgian painters were perhaps employed in the decoration of St. Gregory of Ani, commissioned by Tigrane Honenc ‘in 1215, and in the church of Baxtałek, as well as in Kobayr (end of the 12th century) and Axt’ala (13th century)), where the order and choice of figures and inscriptions refer to the Iberian area. On the contrary, the apse of the Holy Sign of Halbat was decorated by painters of the Armenian-Georgian school and the Dadivank Cathedral ‘ by an artist influenced by Mongolian art, such as the one who painted the atrium of St. Gregory of Kečaris.

The miniature of the Great Armenia testifies to the flowering of different talents born of regional particularism. The main scriptoria were found in the regions of Ani (the so-called Hałbat Evangeliary, from 1211; Erevan, Matenadaran, 6288), Arc’ax (Xoranašat Evangeliary, from 1224, and Tarkmanč’ac ‘Evangeliary, from 1232; Erevan, Matenadaran, 4832 and 2743) and especially in Syunik᾽. It is there that Tat’ev’s scriptorium was located, from which the Grigor Gospels of 1378 (Erevan, Matenadaran, 7842), and the famous university of Glajor, where the sculptor and painter Momik worked, among others. also owes an evangeliary of 1302; Yerevan, Matenadaran, 6792) and Thoros of Taron (to whom we owe a bible of 1316 and an evangeliary of 1323; Erevan, Matenadaran, 206 and 6289), both comparable to the best artists of Cilicia, with whom the two were moreover in relationship. Some manuscripts with major or minor Byzantine influences come from the high Armenia the Evangeliary of Erez, of 1183, and the Homelary of Muş, of 1202 (Erevan, Matenadaran, 2877 and 7729) or the Bible of Erez, of 1269 (Jerusalem, Armenian Patriarchate, Lib. of St Thoros, 1925). In Vaspurakan, an original art of miniature appeared, divided into different schools: more than 1500 manuscripts were produced from the century. 13th to 17th, illuminated in the modest hermitages of the Lake Van region and the nearby Taurus. In these works the biblical iconography appears varied, the ornaments are numerous, the drawing is often schematized and the colors are very bright. In Cilicia (v.) the Armenian Renaissance coincided with a flourishing of monumental painting, of which practically no evidence remains. The illustration of manuscripts experienced a great development in that period (Der Nersessian, 1973; 1977): the Prayer Book of Gregory of Narek (Erevan, Matenadaran, 1568), written in 1173 for Nersès of Lampron, announces the preciousness that characterized later the aristocratic manuscripts of Little Armenia, illustrated in the scriptoria of Drazark, Skewra and Hromkla. Thoros Roslin is the best known representative of this Cilician school (there are seven manuscripts illuminated by him between 1260 and 1268), but some anonymous works, such as the mss. 197 and 9422 of the Matenadaran of Yerevan, with an elegant mannerism and composite ornamentation inspired from time to time by Byzantium, Italy, Iran, India and China. These manuscripts, often of royal commission, reflect in the conception and choice of decorations the image of the aristocratic, cultured and cosmopolitan society of this brilliant but ephemeral kingdom. considered as replicas. It is known that the Armenian churches built in Italy were decorated with murals and the Armenian scriptoria of Bologna and Perugia are known. The miniatures produced in these environments are often of considerable quality and are evidently affected by Byzantine and Italian influences, such as the Surxat ‘Evangeliary.

Armenia Painting