Exhibition | Armenia!

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 18, 2018

Altar Frontal, detail, New Julfa, 1741; gold, silver, and silk threads on silk (Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Armenia; photo by Hrair Hawk Khatcherian and Lilit Khachatryan).

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Press release (20 September 2018) for the exhibition now on view at The Met:

The Met Fifth Avenue, New York, 22 September 2018 — 13 January 2019

Curated by Helen Evans, with C. Griffith Mann and Constance Alchermes

Armenia! explores the arts and culture of the Armenians from their conversion to Christianity in the early fourth century through their leading role on international trade routes in the 17th century. The exhibition emphasizes how Armenians developed a distinctive national identity in their homeland at the base of Mt. Ararat (widely accepted as the resting place of Noah’s Ark) and how they maintained and transformed their traditions as their communities expanded across the globe.

Kütahya Vessel, 18th century, stonepaste; polychrome painted under transparent glaze, 6.7 cm high (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 02.5.45).

More than 140 opulent gilded reliquaries, richly illuminated manuscripts, rare textiles, liturgical furnishings made of precious materials, khachkars (cross stones), church models, and printed books demonstrate Armenia’s distinctive imagery in their homeland and other major Armenian sites, from the Kingdom of Cilicia on the Mediterranean to New Julfa, in Safavid Persia. Select comparative works display Armenian interaction with other cultures. Major Armenian repositories of their culture provide almost all the works in the exhibition. Most are on view in the United States for the first time; many have not traveled for centuries.

Armenia! focuses on major Armenian centers of production from their homeland west and east. It includes images of Armenians, from self-portraits to depictions of male and female rulers, donors, theologians, and historians. Special attention is given to works by major artists such as T’oros Roslin, Sargis Pidzak, Toros Taronatsi, and Hakob of Julfa working in the Armenian homeland, the Kingdom of Cilicia, and New Julfa.

More than half of the works on display are on loan from The Republic of Armenia with the support of The Ministry of Culture. Imposing liturgical works are coming from the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, the primary site of the Armenian Church. In Yerevan, the ‘Matenadaran’ Mesrop Masthots` Institute – Museum of Ancient Manuscripts is lending exceptional manuscripts, and the History Museum of Armenia is lending monumental church sculptures. The Holy See of Cilicia in Lebanon, the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and the Armenian Mekhitarist Congregation in Venice are the other major Armenian religious communities lending exceptional works. Armenian collections lending select works are the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Portugal and in America, the Diocese of the Armenian Church (Eastern) (New York); the Armenian Museum of America (Boston); and the Alex and Marie Manoogian Museum (Southfield, Michigan). Additional works are coming from The Met and other American and European institutions.

Photographs of Armenian architecture and landscapes by noted Armenian-Canadian photographer Hrair Hawk Khatcherian and his assistant Lilit Khachatryan will provide context for the works in the exhibition, in the catalogue, and on the exhibition page of the website.

The exhibition was organized by Helen C. Evans, the Mary and Michael Jaharis Curator of Byzantine Art, with the support of C. Griffith Mann, the Michel David-Weill Curator in Charge, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, and the assistance of Constance Alchermes, Research Assistant. Exhibition design is by Michael Langley, Exhibition Design Manager; graphics are by Chelsea Amato and Morton Lebigre, Graphic Designers; and lighting is by Clint Ross Coller and Richard Lichte, Lighting Design Managers.

The exhibition is made possible by The Hagop Kevorkian Fund. Additional support is provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Michel David-Weill Fund, the Armenian General Benevolent Union, The Giorgi Family Foundation, The Hirair and Anna Hovnanian Foundation, the Karagheusian Foundation, The Nazar and Artemis Nazarian Family, the Ruddock Foundation for the Arts, The Strauch Kulhanjian Family and The Paros Foundation, Aso O. Tavitian, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The catalogue is distributed by Yale UP:

Helen Evans, ed., Armenia: Art, Religion, and Trade in the Middle Ages (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018), 352 pages, ISBN: 978-1588396600, $65.

As the first people to officially convert to Christianity, Armenians commissioned and produced astonishing religious objects. This sumptuous volume depicts and contextualizes the compelling works of art that defined the rich and complicated culture of medieval Armenians, including carvings, liturgical furnishings, beautifully illustrated manuscripts, gilded reliquaries, exquisite textiles, printed books, and more. Situated at the center of trade routes that connected the East and West during the Middle Ages, Armenia became a leading international trade partner for Seljuk, Mongol, Ottoman, and Persian overlords, while also serving as a powerful ally to Byzantium and European Crusader states. Written by a team of international scholars, with contributions from Armenian religious leaders, this book will stand as the definitive text on the art and culture of medieval Armenia.

Helen C. Evans is Mary and Michael Jaharis Curator of Byzantine Art in the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Exhibition | Armenia: Art, Culture, Eternity

Posted in exhibitions, museums by Editor on November 18, 2018

Press release (25 October 2018) from the Armenian Museum of America:

Armenia: Art, Culture, Eternity
Armenian Museum of America, Watertown, Massachusetts, exhibition open from November 2018

Kütahya vessel, 18th century, polychrome fritware (Watertown, Massachusetts: Armenian Museum of America).

The Armenian Museum of America is pleased to share its vision for the future. Founded in 1971, the Museum serves as the largest repository of Armenian artifacts in the diaspora, as well as the largest ethnic museum in Massachusetts. As the Museum builds towards the future, it strives to create a stronger, more connected community through shared exploration of Armenian art and history, both for Armenians and those who are new to Armenian culture.

The Museum’s new gallery Armenia: Art, Culture, Eternity provides an overview of Armenian culture from antiquity to present-day Armenian experience here in the United States. Over fifty objects are on display, illustrating Armenia’s origins in the Asian continent, the invention of a unique Indo-European language and alphabet, the early adoption of Christianity, Armenian medieval illuminated manuscripts, interconnected trade routes, and the tragedy of the Genocide.

Armenia: Art, Culture, Eternity is the culmination of twelve months of intense research and design and represents a new level of scholarship and interpretation at the Museum. The project was made possible by the support of the Board of Trustees and was spearheaded by Executive Director Jennifer Liston Munson and architect Virginia Durruty, who worked side-by-side with Michele Kolligian, President of the Board of Trustees, on the inspired design. The gallery represents an incredible achievement and is the start of a holistic consideration of the entire Museum, which will examine everything from the building’s distinctive Brutalist architecture—including how the hard space is a meaningful metaphor for Armenia’s difficult history—to the Museum’s role in telling the modern Armenian-American cultural narrative.

Call for Essays | Forms and Genres of Book Illustration

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on November 18, 2018

From the Call for Essays:

Forms and Genres of Eighteenth-Century Book Illustration
Edited by Leigh G. Dillard and Christina Ionescu

Proposals due by 1 December 2018; completed chapters due in January 2020

Proposals are invited for a collection of essays designed for students and established researchers seeking an introduction to the field of eighteenth-century illustration, with special attention to its forms and genres. We invite proposals on a wide variety of topics, with particular interest in the following to fill gaps in our existing commitments:
• ballads
• broadsides
• children’s books
• criminal histories
• ephemera
• the epistolary tale
• funerary elegies
• the fantastic
• the historical romance
• literary almanacs
• literary galleries
• the philosophical tale
• songbooks

When possible, examples should be chosen from more than one national tradition. Please send 300–500 word proposals to Christina Ionescu (cionescu@mta.ca) and Leigh Dillard (leigh.dillard@ung.edu) by 1 December 2018. The deadline for the submission of completed chapters will be January 2020.

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