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Armenian Illuminated Manuscripts

Christina Maranci

A fascinating look at the history of illuminated manuscripts in the Armenian tradition.

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October 2017


Armenian Illuminated Manuscripts

The Armenian tradition of illuminating and illustrating hand written manuscripts dates as far back as the seventh century and continued to flourish under royal patronage in the kingdom of Cilicia in the tenth and eleventh centuries. In this video, Professor Christina Maranci explores the range of functions that these manuscripts served—from modest personal devotion to more lavishly illustrated displays of elite status of patrons. A closer examination of illuminated manuscripts reveals a wealth of artistic traditions and influences that have been absorbed, rethought, and integrated into a distinctively Armenian iconography, one that speaks to Armenian religious and liturgical practices and that has endured as an affirmation of Armenian identity through the centuries.


Dr. Christina Maranci is Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies at Harvard University. Her work explores the art and culture of Armenia in all aspects, but with special emphasis on the late antique and medieval periods. Her books include The Art of Armenia (Oxford University Press, 2018), Vigilant Powers: Three Churches of Early Medieval Armenia (Brepols, 2015), and Medieval Armenian Architecture: Constructions of Race and Nation (Peeters, 2001). Her articles and essays have appeared in the Wall Street JournalRevue des études arméniennesDumbarton Oaks PapersGesta, the Journal for the Society of Architectural Historians, the Art Bulletin, the Oxford Companion to Architecture, the Oxford Dictionary of the Middle AgesApolloThe Conversation, and Hyperallergic. She is also active in the preservation of Armenian cultural heritage, with a focus on the at-risk Armenian churches and monasteries in what is now Eastern Turkey.


Topics: Arts/Culture Literature Religion