Ancient Armenian Manuscripts at the American Getty Museum

Ancient Armenian Manuscripts

In the largest art center of the West Coast of the US, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the rarest Armenian manuscripts are exhibited. They belong to different periods of the Middle Ages and represent the best traditions of the Armenian miniature school.

Below are the descriptions of the four rare manuscripts in the collection of the American museum.

Pages from the Gospel of Zeytun

The Gospel of Zeytun (Zeytun was a province and a city in Western Armenia, now located in Turkey) was created by famous medieval Armenian miniaturist Toros Roslin. It dates back to 1256. In 1994, the museum for several million dollars acquired a number of pages from the Gospel. The rest of the Gospel is currently kept in the Yerevan Mesrop Mashtots Museum-Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, also known as Matenadaran.

Armenian bible from Isfahan

The Getty Museum’s main collection also contains a rare bible in Armenian, which is the artistic work of Armenian miniaturists from Isfahan (Persia) Malnazar and Agapir. This bible was created in 1637-1638. It presents the sacred history of the Old Testament.

The Creation of Mesrop of Khizan

A unique Gospel in the Armenian language was created in 1615 in Isfahan. The author of its illustrations was Mesrop of Khizan (1560-1652), famous Armenian master of medieval manuscripts. The Gospel also contains several works of another medieval Armenian manuscript artist Hayrapet.

Entry into Jerusalem

An Armenian manuscript entitled “Entry into Jerusalem” appeared in the museum’s collection in the mid-1990s. It was created by unknown artists from the Lake Van region (now Turkey) in 1386. This manuscript was part of a bible in Armenian which has not been preserved.

As part of the permanent and temporary showpieces of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, dozens of other Armenian manuscripts are also presented. These have been acquired by the museum mainly at Middle Eastern auctions.

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