Armenian art

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An Armenian painting at the art museum in Vanadzor, Armenia
Armenian frescoes inside the 17th-century Vank Cathedral in New Julfa, Iran

Armenian art is the unique form of art developed over the last five millennia in which the Armenian people lived on the Armenian Highland. Armenian architecture and miniature painting have dominated Armenian art and have shown consistent development over the centuries.[1] Other forms of Armenian art include sculpture, fresco, mosaic, ceramic, metalwork, engraving, textiles, printing and music.

Study of Armenian art history[edit]

The study of Armenian art began in the early 20th century. Notable scholars of Armenian art were Catholicos Garegin Hovsepian and professor Sirarpie Der Nerséssian.[1] More recently, Jean-Michel Thierry and Professor Dickran Kouymjian are prominent scholars of Armenian art.


Main article: Armenian architecture

The first Armenian churches were built during the lifetime of St. Gregory the Illuminator, were often built on the sites of destroyed pagan temples, and imitated some aspects of Armenian pre-Christian architecture.[2]

Classical and Medieval Armenian architecture is divided into four separate periods.

The first period, from the 4th to the 7th centuries, began with Armenia's conversion to Christianity, and ended after the Arab invasions of Armenia. The early churches were mostly simple basilicas, some with side apses. By the 5th century the typical cupola cone in the center had become widely used. By the 7th century, centrally-planned churches had been built and the more complicated niched buttress and radiating Hrip'simé style had formed. By the time of the Arab invasions, most of what we now know as classical Armenian architecture had formed.

The second period lasted from the 9th to the 11th centuries. Armenian architecture underwent a revival under the patronage of the Bagratid dynasty with many buildings erected in the regions of Ani and Lake Van: these included both traditional styles and new innovations. Ornately carved Armenian khachkars were developed during this time.[3] Many new cities and churches were built during this time, including a new capital at Lake Van and a Cathedral on Akdamar Island to match. The Cathedral of Ani was also completed during this dynasty. It was during this time that the first major monasteries, such as Haghpat and Haritchavank were founded. This period was ended by the Seljuk invasion.



Late-medieval Armenian Khachkars from Julfa
Main article: Khachkar

Each culture possesses a certain original element which becomes a symbol of the entire national culture. In Armenia such symbol is “khachkar, the so-called cross-stones, the monuments of Armenia which are not found anywhere in the world. The word “khachkar” is formed by two Armenian roots: “khach” (cross) and "kar" (stone).

Frescoes, Mosaics, and Ceramics[edit]

An Armenian fresco of Christ at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

Metalwork and Engravings[edit]

Biblical scenes carved into the external wall of the 10th-century Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Akhtamar Island on Lake Van


Main article: Armenian dress

Armenian carpets[edit]

Main article: Armenian carpet
Main article: Karabakh carpet

Music and dance[edit]

Main article: Music of Armenia
Main article: Armenian dance

Contemporary Art[edit]

In 2015, Armenia won the Leone d'Oro for Best Pavilion at the Venice Biennale [4]

See also[edit]

Art galleries in Armenia[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kouymjian, Dickran (1992), "Introduction", The Arts of Armenia, Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, retrieved 2009-05-10 
  2. ^ Sacred Geometry and Armenian Architecture | Armenia Travel, History, Archeology & Ecology | TourArmenia | Travel Guide to Armenia
  3. ^ Armenia, Past and Present; Elisabeth Bauer, Jacob Schmidheiny, Frederick Leist , 1981
  4. ^ [1]


External links[edit]

  • THE ARTS OF ARMENIA an online Armenian art history book by Dickran Kouymjian, California State University, Fresno