New York City, NY
This is the first major exhibition to explore the remarkable artistic and cultural achievements of the Armenian people in a global context over fourteen centuries—from the fourth century, when the Armenians converted to Christianity in their homeland at the base of Mount Ararat, to the seventeenth century, when Armenian control of global trade routes first brought books printed in Armenian into the region.
Through some 140 objects—including opulent gilded reliquaries, richly illuminated manuscripts, rare textiles, cross stones (khachkars), precious liturgical furnishings, church models, and printed books—the exhibition demonstrates how Armenians developed a unique Christian identity that linked their widespread communities over the years.
Representing the cultural heritage of Armenia, most of the works come from major Armenian collections: the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin; the National Library of Armenia (the Matenadaran); the National History Museum in the Republic of Armenia; the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia in Lebanon; the Brotherhood of St. James in Jerusalem; and the Mekhitarist Congregation of San Lazzaro degli Armeni in Venice.
Almost all of these works are on view in the United States for the first time; some have not travelled abroad for centuries.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website
Whether or not you go, the companion publication, Armenia: Art, Religion, and Trade in the Middle Ages, is a fascinating exploration of the art created by the varied Armenian kingdoms that connected the East and West during the Middle Ages. As the first people to officially convert to Christianity, Armenians commissioned and produced astonishing religious objects. This sumptuous volume depicts and contextualizes the compelling works of art that defined the rich and complicated culture of medieval Armenians, including carvings, liturgical furnishings, beautifully illustrated manuscripts, gilded reliquaries, exquisite textiles, printed books, and more. Situated at the center of trade routes that connected the East and West during the Middle Ages, Armenia became a leading international trade partner for Seljuk, Mongol, Ottoman, and Persian overlords, while also serving as a powerful ally to Byzantium and European Crusader states. Written by a team of international scholars, with contributions from Armenian religious leaders, this book will stand as the definitive text on the art and culture of medieval Armenia.
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