A Masterpiece of Armenian Miniature – Cilicia

A Masterpiece of Armenian Miniature – CiliciaThis skillfully executed 13th-century portrait depicts a king of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia Leo II, his wife Keran, as well as their three sons and two daughters. Receiving the blessing of the Lord, the royal family is portrayed at the bottom of the miniature.

This unique piece from the handwritten Gospel of Queen Keran is retained in the Armenian Church Surb Hakob (St. Jacob) in Jerusalem. The manuscript was created by the order of Queen Keran in Sis, the capital of Cilicia, in 1272. Apart from this miniature, the Gospel contained a multitude of others images depicting scenes from the life of Jesus: Annunciation, the Resurrection of Lazarus, the Crucifixion of Jesus, and others.

The manuscript was compiled by a scribe named Avetis. As for the unique miniature, its author is still unknown. It is generally accepted that this masterpiece was created by a prominent 13th-century representative of the Cilician school of miniature Toros Roslin. In fact, the excellence and elegance of the miniature from the Gospel of Queen Keran strongly resemble the outstanding style of the miniaturist.

A Cilician King Leo II, sometimes referred to as Leo III in historical accounts, reigned in 1269 – 89. In 1262, the future king married Anna, the daughter of prince Hethum, who would give birth to 8 sons and 7 daughters. Having acceded to the throne, Queen Anna received the name Keran. Thanks to her soft temper, she earned the love and respect of the courtiers, as well as the people since the very first days.


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