Tuesday, September 18, 2012

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

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