AGBU Webtalks


Armenians in the Medieval World

Helen C. Evans

Dr. Evans examines the reach and influence of Armenians in the Middle Ages.


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December 2018

Armenians in the Medieval World

In our fourth from a series of videos featuring the curators of Armenia!, Dr. Helen Evans considers the significance of Armenians in the medieval world—their influential role on international trade routes that connected Europe to the silks and spices of Asia and their unique cultural identity rooted in the early conversion to Christianity that has informed Armenian art from the early Middle Ages to today.

On view at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in the fall and winter of 2018, Armenia! was the Museum’s first large-scale exhibition dedicated to the artistic and cultural achievements of the Armenian people in the Middle Ages. In a series of videos for AGBU WebTalks, the curators of the show discussed the significance of this unique exhibition and the works represented in it.

Dr. Helen C. Evans, the Mary and Michael Jaharis Curator for Byzantine Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, is the curator of Armenia! on view at the Museum from September 22, 2018 through January 13, 2019. Her dissertation on Cilician Armenian manuscript illumination inspired her interest in an exhibition on the medieval centuries of Armenian art and culture. Previously she co-curated the Morgan Library and Museum’s 1994 exhibition, Treasures in Heaven: Armenian Illuminated Manuscripts. At the Metropolitan Museum, she curated The Glory of Byzantium (843-1261) in 1997 and Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261-1557) in 2004 that included major works of Armenian art. Both were recognized by the New York Times, Apollo Magazine and others as among the most important cultural events of their years. Through her efforts, Armenian art is now installed in The Met’s permanent medieval galleries as an important East Christian culture. As the Nikit and Elenora Ordjanian Visiting Professor of Armenian Studies, Dr. Evans has taught, and is teaching, courses on Armenian art at Columbia University. She has published widely on Armenian topics. Dr. Evans is president of the International Center for Medieval Art (ICMA) and immediate past-president of the Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) and AAMC Foundation. Dr. Evans received her B.A. with Honors from Newcomb College of Tulane University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from The Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

Topics: Arts/Culture Literature Religion