Contributions of Armenian art to the development of Western art

The Russian art historian Lydia Durnovo referred to Armenian culture as the “pre-Renaissance” and noted that depictions of nude bodies were present in Armenian art much earlier than in the works of the great Italian painter Masaccio.

Durnovo also wrote about the medieval Armenian artist Roslin, saying: “It was he, a contemporary of Dante, a predecessor of Giotto in Italy and Panselinos in Byzantium, who took the first steps towards the pre-Renaissance. His progressiveness went in the direction that would later unfold in Italy as the early Renaissance.”

Durnovo’s observations shed light on the contributions of Armenian art to the development of Western art. The depiction of the human body, especially in a state of nudity, was taboo in many cultures for centuries. However, Armenian art had already broken this taboo and had been portraying nude figures in their art long before their European counterparts.

Roslin, in particular, was a pioneer in the use of perspective in art. His works showed a deep understanding of the principles of proportion and perspective, which would later become the foundation of Renaissance art. His use of light and shadow was also revolutionary, and his paintings had a three-dimensional quality that was not seen before in the art of his time.

Overall, Durnovo’s observations highlight the rich artistic heritage of Armenia, and the significant impact it had on the development of Western art. The pre-Renaissance movement in Armenian art, as exemplified by Roslin, paved the way for the revolutionary changes that would soon take place in European art, and helped to lay the foundation for the Renaissance.

Vigen Avetisyan

Source: Toros Roslin


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