Armenian art is widely known to the world with its unique forms of expressions. It has developed over five millennia, as much as Armenian nation has lived on the Armenian Highland.
If you are interested in Armenian art, it is important to know that over centuries, it has been consistently developing with architecture and miniature paintings, playing a huge and dominating role in Armenian culture.
Besides architecture and miniature paintings, Armenian art is also famous for its other expressions and forms: sculpture, mosaic, ceramic, engraving, fresco, metal work, and textiles (particularly Armenian carpets).
Let us introduce you with the historical process of Armenian art development and its modern characteristics in more interesting details. In addition, some art galleries will be introduced for those who want to see the Armenian art.
HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF ARMENIAN ART
In ancient times (in the Iron Age), Armenia was home to the culture of Urartu, which was an Iron Age kingdom located nearby Lake Van. The art of that period was notable for its early metal sculptures, mainly of animals.
Later, the region was often contested by large empires such – Persia, Mesopotamia, Anatolia – having significant impact on Armenian art.
Then, Armenians adopted Christianity, created and developed their own version of Eastern Christian art – with much use of icons and original miniatures in books, the very unique churches, and monasteries architecture.
NOTABLY INTERESTING CHARACTERISTICS AND MAIN DIRECTIONS OF ARMENIAN ART
Arts and cultures, of course, differ from one nation to another in some respects. It is because each culture possesses certain and original elements which become symbols representing an entire national culture.
Here are some interesting characteristics of Armenian art.
Representing Unique Western Christian Art
As mentioned above, Armenian art represents unique Western Christian art by using painting miniatures and icons in books, architectures of monastery complexes to a great extent.
The Armenian sculptures called khachkars, literally meaning “cross-stones”, are widely-known and very popular monuments in Armenian art, probably the most unique part of Armenian Art because you cannot find them anywhere else in the world.
Separate direction of Armenian architecture in Armenian Art
When describing Armenian art, it is crucial to highlight architecture as a separate direction in Armenian art.
First Armenian Christian churches were built by Saint Grigor Lusavorich (Gregory, the Illuminator) and during his lifetime, they were mostly built in the places of destroyed pagan temples preserving some aspects of Armenian pre-Christian architecture.
Historically, Armenians have been specialized in such a form of art as crafts and especially in carpet-weaving.
Miniatures and Illuminated Manuscripts
Miniatures and illuminated manuscripts are also to be mentioned as a compound part in Armenian art.
They were produced in Armenia mostly between the 5th and the 17th centuries. Miniatures were mainly used by skilled masters to illustrate manuscripts, walls of churches and monasteries.
3 MOST FAMOUS ARMENIAN ARTISTS
The rich and historically created cultural heritage of Armenia has served as a firm foundation for various contemporary artists as well.
As a proof for above-mentioned statements about the uniqueness of Armenian art, we would like to represent you 3 most famous and popular artists of Armenia of all times. One of them represents the medieval Armenian art and the other two artists are modern art representatives.
Of course, the list is very huge but here, we will provide you with information on the 3 Armenian artists who are actually worldly-known ones.
Armenian Artist 1) TOROS ROSLIN
The highest point of miniature painting art is associated with the name of the most prominent medieval Armenian manuscript illuminator, Toros Roslin, (13th century).
The major part of the manuscripts illustrated by him were lost, and what is left today is preserved in Matenadaran, Yerevan, and various art galleries and museums.
Here, one of his most famous works, The Passage of the Red Sea, Mashtots (1266) is presented.
Armenian Artist 2) GAGIK AVETISYAN (born on February 20, 1957)
Today, the works of this artist can be found in personal collections and in the museums in Yerevan, Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Saint Petersburg, Geneva, Lyon, Paris, Budapest, Los Angeles, Rome, Zurich, Harbin and other countries.
The blow is one of his works called “Paris”
Armenian Artist 3) MARA SARGSYAN (born on April 22, 1981)
She is a young Armenian artist and one of the representatives of Armenian modern art. If you are more interested in modern Armenian art, you can find the works of this artist exhibited in private collections in Armenia, the USA, France and Spain.
The below is one of her works called “The Rock Rose Flowers”.
ART GALLERIES TO NECESSARILY VISIT IN YEREVAN
Like anywhere else in the world, here in Armenia as well, with the considerable support by different galleries and art centers to talented Armenian contemporary artists, they have gained worldwide recognition starting to thrive in modern arts sphere.
In this part, the 2 most must-see-and-enjoy art galleries and museums in Yerevan are introduced below. In exploring Yerevan and Armenian cultural life, you will come across many interesting places and do some discoveries for yourself. Yet, probably the 2 art galleries in the capital of Armenia would be a good starting point for you.
Art Gallery in Armenia 1) The Cafesjian Center for the Arts
The Cafesjian Center for Arts is a cultural center built within the Cascade Yerevan complex. This is a place where you can be introduced to the best pieces and items of Armenian contemporary art.
The museum collection consists of masterpieces created by such worldly-famous sculptures and artists as Grigor Khanjyan, Arshile Gorky, Fernando Botero, John Altoon, Marc Chagall and many others.
That is to say, the Center for the Arts aims at implementing two functions: present Armenian modern artists to the world and international modern artists to Armenia and the local people.
A huge number of exhibitions are periodically organized here where many interested tourists and locals take part. You can also enjoy and learn new things about the country’s cultural heritage combined with world modern cultural elements.
Art Gallery in Armenia 2) Naregatsi Art Institute
The Naregatsi Art Institute is named after Grigor Naregatsi, a famous medieval Armenian poet and thinker (11th century) whose works are so significant that they are taken as a source of guidance to Armenians up to our days.
This is another arts and culture centre, promoting Armenian contemporary art and culture since 2002. The Naregatsi institute supports local modern artists by organizing various forums for art lovers who gladly come together and openly express their thoughts in a free atmosphere.
In order to keep the Armenian heritage alive, the Institute constantly promotes creativity in different forms of art. And, for the realization of that purposes, it uses the collaborative energy of youth in the necessary direction: strengthening Armenian contemporary art and therefore achieving the similar dimensions and glorious potential that Armenian art had in the past.
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