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.
Christina Maranci is the Arthur H. Dadian and Ara T. Oztemel Chair of Armenian art and architectural history at Tufts University. Her books include Medieval Armenian Architecture: Constructions of Race and Nation (Peeters, 2001), Vigilant Powers: Three Churches of Early Medieval Armenia (Brepols, 2015), and The Art of Armenia (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2018).
Her articles have appeared in Revue des études arméniennes, Dumbarton Oaks Papers, Gesta, the Journal for the Society of Architectural Historians, the Art Bulletin, the Oxford Companion to Architecture, and the Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages. She is also active in the preservation of Armenian cultural heritage, particularly in the Kars/Ani region.
Christina Maranci: Armenian Illuminated Manuscripts