Friday, September 28, 2012

Armenian Miniature Painting from 17th century

The seventeenth century in the Armenian communities in Constantinople, the Crimea, and Isfahan saw a renaissance in the art of manuscript illumination.For the first time wealthy Armenians ordered Bibles extensively illuminated with images inspired by earlier Armenian manuscript traditions and European printed books.' According to the principal colophon, this Bible was commissioned in Constantinople by Khodja Nazar (or Nazar Agha), a member of an important family in Isfahan, and completed in 1623; the copyist was named Hakob. During the fighting in the early seventeenth century between Iran and the Turks, Shah 'Abbas I ( 1589-1629) relocated to Iran and the Turks, in 1603, a portion of the Eastern Armenian population.The Armenians were settled in a quarter of Isfahan that they called New Julfa, in memory of their native city.Elaborate manuscripts like this were commissioned from the more established Armenian scriptoria in Constantinople.When the Bibles arrived in New Julfa, they quickly became models for other works, such as the similarly illuminated New Julfa Bible of 1645 now owned by the Armenian Patriarchate Jerusalem.

This Bible consists of 609 folios, 30 miniatures, illuminated canon tables and headpieces, and numerous illuminated ornaments.The text, in Armenian, is in two columns of forty-seven lines each, written in minuscule script called bolorgir.The title of each book of the Bible appears in the lower margin of the page below an elaborate headpiece.The frontispiece to the Old Testament depicts the six days of the Creation (in six medallions) and the Creation of Man, Eve Taken from Adam's Rib, the Warning concerning the Forbidden Fruit, the Temptation of the Serpent, and the Expulsion from Eden.The headpiece of the Book of Genesis on the facing page refers to the Apocalypse, with the Lamb of God flanked by seraphim. Below, Christ Pantokrator appears in the central medallion.The rays emanating from His hands enclose the Holy Spirit in a medallion to the lower left and Moses in a medallion to the lower right, before descending upon twelve haloed heads on each side, which probably represent the twenty-four elders of the Apocalypse.The initial letter of the chapter is formed by a man with a halo grasping a child to his breast with his left arm. In his raised right hand he holds а gilded book upon which a haloed eagle perches, the symbol of John the Evangelist. The outer margin is decorated with intertwined palms crowned by a cross. The remaining miniatures in this Bible represent Old Testament figures, the Evangelists, and other New Testament saints. Numerous decorative compositions confer great richness on this manuscript, a characteristic example of the works executed in Constantinople in the seventeenth century.

Only the Best: Masterpieces of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon
 By Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sarkis Zabunyan ( 1938 )

Artist of Armenian origin, Sarkis Zabunyan, or Sarkis, as he is known, was born in Istanbul, Turkey, and settled in Paris in 1964. He works painted close to the Figurative narrative style, then, after discovering conceptual art and the works of German artist Joseph Beuys, created installations with solid materials (spools, felt) that are charged with energy.

Calendar, 1994, 56x36.5 cm

Sarkis has willingly adapted the military aesthetic (going as far as to paint water tanks with camouflage colors), archaeology (rearranging archaeological labels to contradictory places), the cinema, and music.His series Kriegshatz, begun in 1976, represents his synthesis of research done on the memory of locations.

France: A Reference Guide from the Renaissance to the Present
By William J. Roberts
Armenian Painting: From the Beginning to the Present
By Mayda Saris

Kutahya Ceramics and Armenian Artisans

The production of ceramics in urban centers such as Kutahya, in Anatolia, where Armenians settled toward the end of of the fourteenth century, is to a large degree the result of the Ottoman appreciation for fine ceramics and of the declining quality of the work being produced elsewhere in Turkey-for instance, in Iznik.It is not widely known that in the sixteenth century Armenians were producing some ceramics— as is proven by the ewer and water bottle with with Armenian inscriptions, from 1510 and 1529, now in the British Museum,London.A considerable number of Christian Armenian craftsmen, who had contributed to the flourishing of Iznik ceramics in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, moved to the Anatolian interior, settling principally in Kutahya.
Bowl, 18th century
Kutahya ceramics are characterized by a siliceous paste without engobe, by an alkaline-lead glaze, and by a varied palette in  which yellows and greens, sometimes slightly acid in tone, predominate. Although the technique and decoration of Kutahya ceramics were inspired by Iznik wares, their originality resides in their use of yellow (achieved through a secret process originating in Greater Armenia) and in their relatively abundant religious motifs.In both public and private collections there are candelabra, pilgrim's flasks, bowls decorated with figures of the apostles, and other objects with the monogram of Christ or stylized seraphim intended for religious use. In addition, tiles covered  the walls of the cathedral and other churches in the New Julfa quarter of Isfahan and of the cathedral of Saint James in Jerusalem.

This bowl is decorated in green, yellow, and aubergine against a white ground. Its central element is a large rosette in the form of a six-pointed star, around which fish move in a circle. The bowl may have been meant for secular use. Fish, however, were a symbol of the early Christian church, and bowls decorated on the interior with fish are known to have been used for the distribution of the Eucharist to the faithful.

Only the Best: Masterpieces of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon
 By Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Magakya Komurciyan (1662-1702?)

Armenian Churches, 1691, 358x120cm
The map was commissioned in 1691 by the Austrian Ambassador Count Luigi (Lodovico) Ferdinando Marsili (1658-1730).

Armenian painters in the Ottoman Empire, 1600-1923, Volume 2
Garo Kürkman

Armenian Influence in Italian Art

Influence at Cremona from the East and particularly from Armenia cannot be excluded. For centuries pilgrims had come and gone to Jerusalem, and after the occupation of Armenia by the Turks about 1060 there had been an influx of Armenian refugees into North Italy; and this connection was further developed after the establishment of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem at the beginning of the twelfth century, which had as a result active trading relations between the new kingdom and the commercial centres of Italy, Venice, Genoa and Pisa.
Achtamar, Holy Cross Church

There was an emigration of Armenians to the West. Armenians became numerous in Italy, as the Armenian churches which came to be founded in Florence, Rome and other towns indicate. In Armenia, as is known from recent research, architecture and sculpture flourished in forms closely resembling the Romanesque art in the West. Ideas as well as commercial products must have passed from East to West. No direct precedents for portal statues can be found in Armenia.

Saint Mary ( Italian Church ) in North Italy

Funerary stelae with large figures in high relief are illustrated by Baltrusaitis and dated by him to the fifth or sixth century; at Achthamar human figures in relief frame a window and at Elindsche reliefs of St. Peter and St. Paul are set against a wall on either side of a doorway in a frontal position. This work is of an ornamental rather than architectural character but the idea of a column is implicit.

Romanesque Sculpture in Italy

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Torcom Bedayan (1917-1986)

"B" Battery Bivouac
"This is reminiscent of our bivouac near Soledad, Calif.," says Armenian Artist Bedayan, who won a $50 award. "I tried to capture the simple ruggedness of soldiers and landscape, to depict a soldier's loneliness without painting any figures.

LIFE - 6 July 1942

Friday, September 14, 2012

Arshile Gorky (1904–1948)

 Arshile Gorky was born Vos- danig Manoog Adoian in Khorkom. Armenia, to Sedrag Adoian and Shushanik der Marderosian. He attended local schools. In 1915 he fled the Turkish genocide of Armenians, finally immigrating to America in 1920.In 1925 Gorky moved to New York City and changed his name to honor the Russian writer Maxim Gorky, to whom he often pretended to be related. Arshile is the Armenian form of Achilles. He studied at the National Academy of Design and the Grand Central School of Art, where he taught 1926 to early 1940 s.

Enigmatic Combat
Arshile Gorky has long been recognized as an important figure in 20th Century American art. After a long period of voluntary apprenticeship to such modern masters as Cezanne, Picasso, Miro, Kandinsky and others, Gorky reached his artistic reached his artistic maturity only in the early 1940s (he died in 1948 at the age of 44) when he blossomed as a highly original and imaginative artist, and created a body of work noted for its exquisite and haunting beauty.its exquisite and haunting beauty. At the same time, his understanding of European modernism enabled him to play a crucial role in the development of the new American painting which came into international prominence during the 1950s.

Orange Coast Magazine Feb 1982
Encyclopedia of New Jersey edited by Maxine Lurie

Mesrop of Khizan ( 17th century )

The Harrowing of Hell

Mesrop of Khizan was one of several artists who worked primarily in Isfahan but who consistently called themselves Khizants'i, or "from Khizan."' Mesrop had learned illumination, copying, and binding in the scriptoria of Khizan.

Book arts of Isfahan: diversity and identity in seventeenth-century Persia
Alice Taylor, J. Paul Getty Museum