Art and Culture in Armenia

Art and Culture in Armenia

The uniqueness and originality of Armenia rests on three key pillars- the ancient Christian heritage (one of the mighty sources that created new trends in fine arts, architecture, and music), the unique charms of its mountainous nature and its originality in the national culture. These are the primary treasures that personified and united the art and culture of Armenia, and those that it managed to preserve despite the nation's dramatic history. 

This is the first major exhibition to explore the remarkable artistic and cultural achievements of the Armenian people in a global context over fourteen centuries—from the fourth century, when the Armenians converted to Christianity in their homeland at the base of Mount Ararat, to the seventeenth century, when Armenian control of global trade routes first brought books printed in Armenian into the region. Through some 140 objects—including opulent gilded reliquaries, richly illuminated manuscripts, rare textiles, cross stones (khachkars), precious liturgical furnishings, church models, and printed books—the exhibition demonstrates how Armenians developed a unique Christian identity that linked their widespread communities over the years.

Video: Ancient Art Links: Armenian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Armenia, which is located between the West and the East, was ta place of collisions between the Middle Ages and the great empires of. Iran, Rome, Arabs, Byzantium, Seljuks, Mongols all crossed Armenia and consequently destroying and interrupting its cultural development only to leave behind cultural ruins. Having successfully managed to resist all powerful newcomers, Armenians saved fidelity to their culture and art although it somehow underwent some transformations. Following these revelations, art and culture in Armenia culture acquired several features characteristics to both western and eastern civilizations. 

Armenian spiritual and material culture are as a result of most ancient inhabitants of uplands, ethnic elements that took part in the formation of people of Armenia. The greatest role, naturally, was played by the exceptional Urartu culture. The culture of Armenia, until 301, developed under the influences of the Hellenism (western) and Parthia (eastern). However, such influences only enriched and supplemented the national culture. As aforementioned, one of the mighty sources of culture in the world that created new trends in music, architecture and fine art is Christianity. 

Watch a video preview of the exhibition Armenia!, on view at The Met Fifth Avenue from September 22, 2018, through January 13, 2019.

Video: Armenia! | Met Exhibitions

One of the greatest milestones, as far as the development of art and culture of Armenia is concerned, was the creation of Armenian alphabets by Mesrop Mashtots in the year 405. The line of the country's architecture is defined by the its mountainous landscape. Momentarily and permanently, like the surrounding mountains, stands medieval architecture's monuments.  Traditionally, weaving, pottery, carpet weaving, jewelry making, and lacemaking were the fundamental household occupations. 

These national crafts, as they developed, were turned into nation art and craft, the most accessible and widespread to the general public. Carpets, pottery, embroidery, and silver ornaments reflected the national perception of the world. One of the most applied Armenian art of the ancient art of silver and gold processing. Art of carving, molding on silver and gold, stone incrustation, stampings, framing, and polishing is expressed in life and cult of Armenians. Perhaps, carpet are the most treasured household belongings for Armenians. 

They were used for chests, tables, beds and seats, and often used as curtains in altars and doorways in temples. One of the ancient to mastered by Armenian was the art of carpet weaving. Armenian dance is considered one of the richest, most varied, and oldest dance heritages in the near east. From the 5th to the 3rd millennia B.C, in the uplands of Armenia, there are rock paintings depicting scenes of a dancing nation. Such dances are were accompanied by some kinds of musical instruments and songs. From this, it is apparent that the art and culture of Armenia is an amalgamation of the best, past achievements with higher hopes of the impeding future.


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