Mother of God

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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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»   Our Lady Mother of God


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our lady in glory armenian

Virgin Mary with infant Jesus, the adoration of the Magi, 10th century Echmiadzin Gospels, ms2374 Matenadaran collection

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Virgin Mary with infant Jesus, Gospel of Translators, 965-967, W.537 Walters collection

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Virgin Mary with child Jesus, by Grigor Tatevatsi, 1297, monastery of Tatev, ms7482 Matenadaran collection

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Virgin Mary blessing, with child Jesus on her front, glorious on her throne, surrounded by angels, 1283, British Library

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The Virgin and the Child, by Toros Taronatsi, 1323, Gladzor monastery, ms6289 Matenadaran collection

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Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Intercession, 1609, The Bodleian Library

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our lady and apostles armenian icon

Our Lady coronated by angels, infant Jesus and the Holy Eucharist. Jesus the Good Shepherd and St. Gregory the Illuminator, surrounded by the 12 Apostles  

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»   The Dormition of the Mother of God


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The Dormition of Virgin Mary, by Tiranu Grigor, 1232, Targmanchats Gospels, ms2743 Matenadaran collection

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The Dormition of Virgin Mary, by Sargis Pidzak, 1336, Sis, Cilicia, ms5786 Matenadaran collection

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The Dormition of Virgin Mary, by Aristakes Tzeruni, Aghtamar Gospels, 1391, Aghtamar, lake Van, ms8772 Matenadaran collection

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The Dormition of the Holy Virgin, from Aghtamar, Vaspourakan, second half of 15th century, Echmiadzin Cathedral treasury

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