Miniatures

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Armenian illuminated manuscripts

A collection of the best known and most characteristic illuminated manuscripts of the Armenian Church

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Armenian illuminated manuscripts form one of the most beautiful traditions of the Medieval Armenian art. The earliest surviving examples date from the 5th century, following the invention of the Armenian alphabet by Masrop Mashtots Մեսրոպ Մաշտոց (362-440). Very few fragments dated from the 5th-7th centuries have been survived. The oldest preserved in its entirety dates from the 9th century. 13th-14th centuries form the golden age of the Armenian calligraphy. Among the greatest Armenian miniaturists is Toros Roslin Թորոս Ռոսլին (1210-1270), who lived and worked in the Armenian kingdom of CIlicia.
Armenian Illuminated manuscripts are remarkable for their festive designs based on the Armenian  religious life and culture. lluminated manuscripts mostly recount the Holy Bible, in particular the Holy Gospels, as well as many aspects of the religious life and teachings of the Armenian Church. Most of the manuscripts were written and illustrated by monks. Armenian monasteries have been for centuries the centres of religious art and literature. Most of those manuscripts are exquisitely elaborated, covered in gilt and brilliant colors. It was a common belief that the beauty of the illustration could refresh the human mind and spirit.
Of the 31,000 Armenian manuscripts currently listed around the world, about 10,000 of them are ornamented, with 5,000 – 7,000 of them containing miniatures. Most of these manuscripts are preserved in the Matenadaran Institute of Yerevan (more than ten thousand manuscripts and fragments of manuscripts).

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»   Armenian illuminated miniatures


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1256-ms10450-zeytun_gospel.jpg

Zeytun Gospel, by Toros Roslin, 1256, ms10450 Matenadaran collection

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800px-T'oros_Roslin_Gospels,_Opening_of_the_Gospel_of_Matthew,_Walters_Manuscript_W.539,_fol._14r

Opening page of St. Matthew Gospel, by Toros Roslin, 1262, W.539 Walters collection

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800px-toros_roslin_gospels_opening_of_the_gospel_of_luke_walters_manuscript_w.539_fol._201r.jpg

Opening page of St. Luke Gospel, by Toros Roslin, 1262, W.539 Walters collection

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Gospel_of_eight_painters_Title_page_of_Matthew_gospel_by_Toros_Roslin

Title page of St. Matthew Gospel, by Sargis Pidzak, Gospel of Eight Painters, 1320, ms7651 Matenadaran collection

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Gospel_of_Shukhonts_John1

The Gospel of St. John, Chapter 1, first page, Shukhonts manuscripts, 13th century 

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1318-ms206-john1.1.jpg

The Gospel of St. John, Chapter 1, first page, by Toros Taronatsi, 1318, ms206 Gladzor monastery, Matenadaran collection

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manuscript toros-ms6289-01-l

The Gospel of St. John, Chapter 1, first page, by Toros Taronatsi, 1323, Gladzor monastery, ms6289 Matenadaran collection

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