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Matenadaran: Miniatures Stand 1 side 2.

The Bible is considered the thematic foundation of Christian painting, particularly of miniature painting. Soon after the adoption of Christianity, as the Gospel was spread and the Armenian Church began its organization, there was a need for a new art form, one in which words and images came together and presented stories related to Christ in the Holy Bible through pictures. Though visible (vivid), they were not merely simple narratives but symbolic, created according to definite iconographic rules.

Along with the Holy Bible, artists of Medieval Ages also used Church sacred history, its methodological and explanatory literature—sometimes even apocryphal literature (that is, that rejected by the Church). In the manuscripts, one can see the pictures of various prominent scholars (spiritual and secular) and manuscript sponsors. Sometimes there are pictures showing secular themes and depicting battles.


3. The Presentation of Jesus at the
Temple, “Gospel of Moghni”,
11th c., Sandghkavank Monastery,
Matenadaran, MS 7736, pg. 13a
4. Grigor Tatevatsi Surrounded by
His Pupils, Collected works,
Crimea, Matenadaran, Ms1203,
pg. 14b
5. The Battle of Avaraiyr ,
Hymnbook, 1482, Matenadaran,
MS 1620

Text and images provided by the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts.

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