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Bibliothèque de l'Église apostolique arménienne - Paris
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Lidia Aleksandrovna DOURNOVO
( 1885 - 1963 )

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Naissance le 13 mai 1885 à Smolensk, (Russie), décès le 7 janvier 1963 à Erevan (Arménie)

Conservateur au Musée des Beaux-arts d'Erevan (en 1960).

Déportée en Sibérie de 1933 à 1936, réhabilitées en 1956

Lidia Aleksandrovna DOURNOVO --- Cliquer pour agrandir

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 Ornaments of Armenian manuscripts
Titre : Ornaments of Armenian manuscripts / auteur(s) : Lidia Aleksandrovna DOURNOVO -
Editeur : Sovetakan Grogh
Année : 1978
Imprimeur/Fabricant : 
Description : 25 x 33,5 cm, 230 pages, 100 planches en couleurs
Collection :
Notes : Trilingue arménien-russe-anglais
Autres auteurs :
Sujets : Ornementations graphiques des manuscrits arméniens
Lecture On-line : non disponible

Commentaire :

The ornamentation of Armenian manuscripts appeared at the same time as the Armenian script and its literature. Taking form gradually on the title pages of manuscripts, in khorans1, in margins, in the details of dominical and plot-oriented miniatures and on surrounding areas, this ornamentation became one of the original places for the practice of Armenian fine art.
Until now there has not been a special study devoted to the ornamentation of Armenian manuscripts. Nevertheless, in the past the authors of books, articles and albums bearing upon the miniature, fine art, and the cultural background of the manuscripts, have also examined ornaments and tried to interpret their meaning and evaluate their form of art. This awakened interest with regard to the Armenian ornamentation has a history longer than 100 years. In the 1840s and 1850s M.Brosset published a catalogue of illustrated manuscripts belonging to Echmiadzin and thus aroused interest with regard to the artistic form of Armenian manuscripts.2 In the 1780s and 1880s the archaeologist A.S.Uvarov,3 V.V.Stasov,4 and others wrote about the decorative ornamentation of manuscripts.
Giving high praise of to the originality of Armenian fine art, V.Stasov, in his large and magnificent album, Slavic and Oriental Ornamentation, included more than 100 samples of Ornaments of Armenian Manuscripts on 8 separate color plates. They present illuminations taken from some 12 manuscripts belonging to the Mechitarist library in Venice, to libraries in Paris, Berlin, St.Petersburg, Moscow and to private collections. Stasov writes: "In the headpieces of manuscripts and the ornamentations of margins, in the drawing of the forms as well the colors, Armenian painters appear as creators gifted with infinite imagination, limitless inventiveness, and subtle taste".
Subsequently a number of Armenian and foreign specialists, including G.Hovsepian, J.Strzigowski, F.Macler and A.Svirin, turned to issues concerning the decoration of Armenian manuscripts and architectural monuments. They regarded this ornamentation as one of the remarkable branches of universal fine art.
A.Mnatsakanian has been concerned with the question of explaining the origin of the fundamental motifs and the conceptual content of Armenian ornamentation. On the basis of a detailed study of the rich materials available, he establishes that specific materialistic interest, natural and social influences lie at the foundation of all the basic motifs of Armenian ornamentation. Initially they had precise meaning and practical significance but in the course of time, through gradual development, they departed from their materialistic foundations and initial configurations and created new and variegated ornamental forms.5
Numerous examples of Armenian ornamentation, together with partial interpretations, are to be found in L.A.Dournovo,s A Brief History of old Armenian painting,6 in her large album The Old Armenian Miniature7 and its revised editions,8 in the introduction to the album entitled The Armenian Miniature,9 in the publications of S.Der-Nersesian,10 as well as the publications bearing specifically upon the different schools of Armenian miniature painting.11
The present album is the first attempt to present in the separate edition to the superb examples of Armenian ornamentation to be seen in manuscripts belonging to the Matenadaran. This same work has been under way since 1946. The intention to do this was brought to fruition through the efforts of a group of specialists in painting led by the Meritorious Art Worker and celebrated specialist in Armenian miniature painting, Lydia Alexandrovna Dournovo (1885-1963). But death prevented her from publishing that album with the introduction, supplements and notes.
During the process of editing it became clear that of Dournovo,s projected 83 plates two would have to be omitted from the album due to their poor quality of reproduction. At the same time it was regarded as desirable to include another 15 plates from the achieves of the Armenian State Art Gallery, of which copies had been made by painters under the direction of L.A.Dournovo. Beside these, the album has been filled out by the inclusion of an additional four plates (28,45,51) chosen by those who have brought this publication to completion. So it is that the album now has 100 color plates comprising more than 2000 ornamentations. The plates are arranged chronologically according to the age of the manuscripts.
Of course, the materials presented here do not exhaust the best examples of manuscript ornamentation produced by the Armenian people's talented progeny in the course of the centuries. They only offer outstanding examples of the more important, typical, and frequently-used native ornamentations.
As is known, the origin and form of the basic motifs of Armenian ornamentation are connected with remote times. Animal, floral, geometrical and supporting-motifs like the heavenly bodies and architectural structures are dominant here. Other peoples also formed these motifs, especially the ancestors of people of other Eastern Cultures.
Christianity, which initially contended against pagan conceptions and against the cultural heritage connected with them, later gradually gave way both in Armenia and in other countries and began to use ancient ornamentations. Thanks to that, ecclesiastical buildings, sacred vessels, curtains vestments, crosses and other items began to be decorated with ancient ornamental designs and their adaptations; also manuscripts, especially the Gospels, the Bible, Mass, Ritual, Lectionary and Liturgy. Here a large role was assigned to the colors and their shades. The designs received a more varied and striking appearance because the work was performed with a pen and brush. So formed, there developed a new branch of Armenian ornamentation which we call "manuscript ornamentation".
As with other branches of fine arts in the middle-ages, Armenian ornamentation lived through different stages of development and thus appears with stylistic idiosyncrasies of different schools of illumination painting. Unfortunately, no extensive works of ornamentation from the 5th to 9th centuries are extant; the individual samples that have been preserved do not provide a basis for formulating a general idea concerning decorative art in that period. But the high standard jf extant 10th century illuminations and the testimony of extant written sources indicate that already in the early centuries there had developed precise traditions for the artistic design and ornamentation of Armenian manuscripts.
Seen in this light, especially significant are the some 80 examples from three 10th century manuscripts (plates 1-6). While they preserve the general ornamental motifs and configuration of other Near Eastern decorative fine art they have a noticeable individuality.
In this period, thanks to emancipation from Arab subjugation and the re-establishment of their own state, favorable conditions were created for Armenian cultural advancement. From among the manuscripts born in those new conditions we present first the Echmiadzin Gospel of the year 989, a manuscript of exceptional artistic merit because of the ornaments which attract the eye even today on account of the brightness of their unfazed colors (plates 3,4). They depict khorans with columns, basis and capitals, arches, trees, flowers, birds (doves, peacocks, partridge, quail), baskets of fruit, boughs of pomegranate, curtains, cushions and other details. The ornamental designs used for the framing of dominical miniatures are also fascinating. In all of that talented Armenian painter has masterfully reproduced the likeness of the objects, even giving them realistic quality: for example, the marble columns, the Ionic capitals, and the rainbow-like arch which is similar to the vaults of the main entrances of monumental buildings. The painting of the birds and vegetation is particularly life-like and convising. The skill of the artist and his fine sense of taste are displayed especially in the coloration. The rich range of colors and the synthesis of bright and warm shades (dark red, brown, green and blue), along with the restrained application of gold, create a cheerful mood and, with the dominical illuminations, they give to entire manuscript solemnizes, a festive appearance, and magnificence. In those beautiful and invigorated creations the painter has reached a deep level of artistic persuasiveness.
Produced at the end of the 10th century during the reign of the Bagratids of Ani, this superbly crafted and monumental ornament correspond to the flourishing culture of the time and to the spirit of Grigor Narekatsi,s poetry. At the same time they bear witness to the vitality of local and national traditions of an earlier period as well as to those of Hellenistic times. Because of they originality and national character the ornaments of the manuscript of 989 occupy a significant place in the repository of not only Armenian but also universal fine arts.
Ornaments from 11th century are amply represented in the album (plates 7-27). in the manuscript ornamentation as well as in the float miniatures produced in different centers of national culture in this period, the graphic and decorative styles are clearly evident. The attention given to the outlines to the ornaments of manuscripts from 1018,1038 and 1057, the flatness of the painting, the limited use of colors, the absence of gold and of architectural setting and the broad generality of forms lie and the basis of the individuality of this group of examples. The painter of the manuscript of 1018 has painted with broad generality the leaves of grapevines and date-trees, the almond-shaped leaves of roses which he has placed one on the other, and basis consisting of pieces of different colors and having stressed contours and, in so doing, has deviated from the reproduction of architectural details that was employed by painters in the pretending centuries (plates 11,12). Of particular interest are the chain-shaped, intricate interweaving depicted in crisp colors: white, green, red and yellow upon a black background. The extremely compacted and restrained drawing, which the colors have been made to serve, fulfils a role of explaining the content of the manuscript. This is true also of the manuscripts of 1038 and 1057. The unique coloration of these monumentally-styled ornaments also differentiates them from the others.
The characteristic examples of 11th century style are the ornaments of MMS Nos. 7736 (the "Mughni Gospel"), 2805,7737, and 2877 (plates 8,11-26). Concerning N7736 L.A.Dounovo has written that "The illumination of the Mugni Gospel, because of his style of execution, opulence and presentation of coloration, distinguishes itself as a memorial of high artistic achivements".12
Indeed, in this manuscript (plates 18-21) the drawing, the treatment of the notifies, details, and the profusion of the colors have been effected with great delicacy. The large, heavily proportioned, rectangular khorans cover the entire page; these and the newly introduced type of decorations for the chapters with their various floral, animal, and geometrical motifs give to the manuscript magnificence and an elegant appearance. Such creations, monumental in style and executed with thick colors, are close to frescoes in appearance. Being of the master of a fine feeling for artistic decoration the gifted Armenian painter has created delicate compositions of multifarious designs and placed them on separate pages or in margins with such calculation that the configurative balance of the whole page is not disturbed at all.
Because of their richness of ornamentation, heavy proportions, and the imaginativeness with which content-inspired decorations have been neatly blended, the Mughni Gospel,s ornaments are in a special way connected with those of the Queen Mlke manuscript of 902 and those of the Echmiadzin Gospel of 989.
Plates 27-45 present ornaments of the 12th and 13th centuries from Armenia proper and Diaspora colonies in foreign lands. They include more than 500 examples produced in various places. Because of their originality and stylistic distinctiveness, especially striking to the eye are the ornaments of the painters Stephanos (plates 29-32), Kozma (33-35), the unknown painter of 1224 (plates 36-37), Toros (plate 38), Ignatios (plates 39,40), and Grigor (plates 41-44).
During the 12th and 13th centuries Armenian manuscript ornamentation attained a high level of development in Cilician Armenia.
After the fall of Ani's Bagratid kingdom (1045) and during the period of Turk-Seljuk and, later, Mongolian invasions and their long-lasting supremacy, a large mass of Armenians moved to the area north- east of the Mediterranean Sea, Cilicia. There, having established a permanent residence, the Armenian Cilician kingdom was formed; it lasted for some 200 years (1198-1375).
In Cilicia, thank to the favorable conditions of economic and political life and to the movement of trade and extensive international connections, Armenian culture prospered. Miniature painting flourished especially and there ornamentation occupied an exceptional place.
Manuscript ornamentation and illumination in the early Cilician period bears the distinct mark of Armenia proper. Even so, already by the second half of the 12th century there were formed the stylistic traits of the Cilician school of miniature painting: these traits correspond to the new conditions and artistic tastes of the people.
The size of the manuscripts decreases and with it the ornamentations and the development of their details becomes smaller and more delicate. The characteristically massive style of the ornamentation done in Armenia proper loses it significance. Here priority is given to the book's decorative appearance. The harmonization of half-khorans, marginal decoration, ornamented letters and other forms of embellishment is perfected in the composition of title pages. If previously in Armenia proper ornamentation was used mainly for decorating the front pages and the dominical miniatures now, in Cilicia, the other pages of manuscripts are also copiously decorated with pictures. The colors become more radiant, bright and pronounced. There is extensive use of gold. In the miniature art as well as the ornamentation the desire to picture life realistically grows strong. The religious and Evangelical thematic paintings and symbols begin to take on an appearance of everyday life. As a result of extensive contact with the cultures of other countries, both neighboring and far, foreign influences also make their way into fine art forms.
These new influences which appear in the ornamentation of Grigor Narekatsi,s Book of Laments (1173), than in the decoration of manuscripts of 1194,1237, and 1249, are fully demonstrated also in the manuscript of 1251 which, the scribe says, was copied "from a good and choice exemplar" (plate 47). In Varian's miniature painting one already sees the new style of ornamentation: in its khorans with their flat character and execution with lavish use of gold, in the precise reproduction of the details of birds and figures, in the simplicity of the composition of floral motifs, their harmonious arrangement, and in the perfected technique.
The Cilician school's high level technique and its rich style of ornamentation are displayed more passionately in the mid-13th century paintings in a manuscript of diminutive size (23´ 15´ 5cm) ordered by Smbat Sparapet (plates 48-50).
The rectangular, three-columned, golden, slight khorans which, because of the multi fariousness of their motifs (nymphs, wild animals, imaginary beings, horses, etc.) display a new quality in the decoration of front pages; the pictures of trees and birds placed symmetrically around the plot miniatures, the ornamentation of letters and frames - these are differented from the ornamentations of preceding period by their freshness and brightness of coloration.
In Cilicia, during the years 1260-1270, there appeared a number of new and very talented painters. The lifted the art of Armenian manuscript decoration to a new and higher level.
Toros Roslin became a significant and widely recognized artist in this period. He drew up the designs for and illuminated numerous manuscripts about which we have information concerning only seven: These were done between 1256 and 1268. The Matenadaran has two manuscripts of that ingenious illuminator; one is number 10675 (dated 1268)13 and some examples of its ornaments have been included in this album (plate 51). These illuminations feature complicated arrangements involving floral, animal, and geometrical motifs and figures of human and imaginary beings; they are used mainly to decorate khorans and title pages. Here Toros Roslin appears as a great master of composition. By the wise positioning of well-conceived ornaments and by the harmonious and balanced organization of the pages the painter imparts to his work and strong feeling of real life. The appearance itself of this in the ornamentation points to that new mentality which affected the materialistic and intellectual development of people living in Cilicia during the second half of the 13th century. The sharply-detailed encapsulation of the floral and animal world, the realistic portrayal of human figures and the convincing reproduction of their spiritual feelings, carried out with strong and affected technique, gives it the ornaments such this-worldly spirit of expression that it corresponds to advancing societal conceptions and spiritual demands that, at the time, were being freed from the bonds of the Middle Ages.
After Toros Roslin, beginning in the years 1280-1290, the manuscripts have a tendency toward free and lavish ornamentation. Restless activity and dramaticism are noticeable in the miniature painting. Giving way completely to their imagination, painters create complicated, such diverse arrangements placed abundantly in free spaces and even in the text that the balance of design is sometimes spoiled along with its restraint and increased lavishness of decoration.
Those new tendencies in ornamentation are plainly evident in a manuscript of 1286, "Tchashots" (lectionary). That manuscript - donated to King Hetum - is striking to the eye because of its extreme abundance of decoration. There are one to three ornaments on each of the manuscript's 400 pages and some 700 in all. For the most part there are floral and animal motifs, marginal ornamentations, ornamented initial letters, text-dividers and symbols employing imaginary human and animal beings. Especially noticeable are the khorans, plot miniatures and the portraits of Evangelists located in the text. The placing of all those things at different locations in the manuscript has meant that almost every page is embellished and lands to the manuscript an exceptional splendor (plates 54-60). Here the figures of birds, animals, imaginary beings and people are depicted with an extremely flexible, dramatic, and sharp expressiveness. The attempt to solve the problems of size and dispersion is noticeable. The clear and pronounced colors of the ornament, shining because of the abundant use of gold, give a mirth and festive appearance to all the decoration; this is true also of manuscript N9422 (plates 61,62), a Gospels manuscript copied in 1287 by Bishop Hovannes in Akner.
Unfortunately; the incursion of foreign invaders into Cilicia and the consequent downfall to the Armenian state in 1375 prevented national fine arts from attaining the next stage of development in that part of the native land. Nevertheless, the traditions of Cilician ornamentation were not lost without trace. They were kept and their echoes are found in the miniature painting of succeeding times. The present album offers a series of examples of the employment of those traditions in the motherland and in colonies of Armenian culture in other countries. Understood in this light, the numerous examples of ornaments from schools of painting at Gladzor, Tatev, Crimea, and other places are noteworthy.
In the works of famous painters Momik, Toros Taronatsi, and Grigor Tatevatsi we have valuable examples of 14th century manuscript ornamentation. Because of their deeply moving and intimate character the miniatures of one of the three illuminated manuscripts of the significant painter, sculptor and architect Momik grasp one's studied attention (1292, Noravank). In thre1280s we find Momik in Cilicia where he became an artist. Upon his return to Siunik he brought with him the decorative traditional of Cilician ornamentation and these are expressed especially in the ornamentation of headpieces, in the ornaments in the margins and initial letters, in the soft synthesis of a few colors (red, blue, green, yellow and gold). In these ornaments of the painter's early period (plates 63,64) the precedents are already in evidence of that style which has a more perfected appearance in the artistic form of the manuscript of 1302.
Toros Taronatsi was an outstanding illuminator of the Gladzor school of miniature painting. The manuscript of 1323 as well as his other works are notable first of all for the abundance and lavishness of their ornamentation (plates 71,72). Here, as in the creations of Momik, the initial pages feature capitalizations employing pictures of animals to symbolize the Evangelists. This is undoubtedly a result of Cilician influence. Especially significant are the marginal ornamentations which feature motifs taken from real life (the bird swallowing a fish, the cock pecking at the branch of flower, the sirens, the shepherd playing a flute, the young man perished in the tree, the man playing, the wild animals). These make a manuscript attractive and animated. Important here also are the rain bowline arch and the varied decorations of the round ornaments. The talented painter has put together new forms of ornamentation by noting different motifs. Points of interest are the animals placed in the versatile floral decorations and the ornamentations used to present human heads and plot scenes.
Toros Taronatsi enriched Armenian ornamentation by his new and distinctive portrayals.
During the 13th and 14th centuries numerous manuscripts were produced in the scriptoria of Aghtamar and the monasteries in the environs of Lake Van. Their co-existing, distinctive traditions of ornamentation, because of their unusual stability, were maintained until the 17th and 18th centuries.
The graphic decorative style is characteristic of Vaspourakan (i.e., the area around Lake Van - Tr.) ornamentation. It does not have the radiance, lavishness, and brightness, which are the trademark of Cilician miniature painting. The decorative work of the school is extremely restrained and modest. Its basic means of expression are correspondingly limited. Here the drawing has primary and decisive significance. The painting is used sparingly, without shading, and the manner of watercolor application around the miniatures is with a light, fine layer and unmixed. There is an absence of gold. The basic material is the paper whose clean, unpainted surface is used as a background in the decoration or thematic pictures. The masters of the Vaspourakan miniature school are able to produce great expressiveness using limited means. Leaving aside the matter of the lack of depth in the portrayals and the decidedly sketchy resolution of the illusory drawing and forms, these creations are full of vitality. A spirit of real life prevails in plot miniatures as well as other ornamentation.
A decided conservatism is also a trait of Vaspourakan ornamentation and for this school in general. This was connected, first, with those special conditions of economic and political life in which Armenian population of that region lived and, second, to the rich heritage of ornamentative traditions which were cultivated in ancient times by people of those places.
The style of Vaspourakan ornamentation, which has roots extending back to the manuscript of 1038 and even earlier times, is distinctly expressed in the work of the painters Simeon Artchishetsi, Kirakos, Tserun, Zalaria, Rstakes, and an unknown painter (manuscript N9423).
The ornaments of manuscript 9423 (dated 1332; plate 75), which offer marginal, parts of headpieces, and initial letters, decoration, are resolved with a graphic style. The spiral-shaped ornament is used in the headpieces; indeed, the initial letters are constructed from the figures of birds and animals. Original are the marginal ornaments, which completely fill the edges of the pages; they are formed for the leaves of palms as a basic celebrative motif as well as from figures of birds, cocks, fish, and imaginary beings. The application of new untainted colors - especially red, blue and yellow - in open areas between marginal decorations gives more stress to the work's flatness of character. The khorans lack any depth and do not possess the principles of architectural construction. But that which renders the style more attractive and intriguing is the fact that there is a sharp, sensitive expression of real life produced by modestly executed ornamentation.
From among the numerous manuscripts illuminated by Zakaria Aghtamartsi the album presents samples from only one manuscript, N5332, dated 1357. This artist who was widely recognized in his time (the second half of the 14th century), was also active in musical and building projects. He appeared in the area of book ornamentation with a venturesome mind and the innovation of a few designs. In title pages, for example, he placed the picture of an Evangelist on one part of the page and on the rest, from top to bottom, headpiece and marginal ornaments , the whole page now being filled with beautiful and tasteful forms. In the eight khorans of the manuscript of 1357 the capital letters, cock, peacock, numerous kinds of birds on trees, capitals of columns, circumferential decorations, stylized trees, four- or six-leaved roses and other ornaments are pictured with great detail. The khorans with their traditional and plain arches, are striking to the eye because of their clarity, flat and precise style, and pleasant, full colors (plates 81-82).
In the ornamentative creations of the scribe and painter Rstakes from 1397 the graphic decorative style is distinctly expressed (plates 83-85). The extremely expressive vitality which is a trait of his thematic miniatures is also revealed in his ornamentations. His motifs are multifarious. Particularly noteworthy are the decorative text-dividers which feature complex arrangements of floral and animal motifs. Rstakes, arrangements are quite dynamic, original and full of life.
The album's other ornaments of Vaspourakan region serve to complete the presentation given here of that school's long-lived decorative decorations and its primary characteristics (plates 86-90).
In the 15th and 16th centuries, when Armenia lost its independent status and was under despotic Turkish and Persian rule, the Armenian created intellect, though constricted, nevertheless was continuing to produce new works of value in the field of culture.
In this period the comparatively large number of manuscripts was written. The basic elements of their artistic ornamentation, however, are comprised not so much of thematic illuminations as of khorans and decorative text-dividers. Since for the most part of these manuscripts were produced in Vaspourakan (Vostan, Narekavank, Van, the Srhu monastery, etc.), most of them bear the mark of the graphic style which came to be traditional in that region. Characteristic, for example, are the ornaments of plates 91 and 92. Their decorative motifs, lightly painting in one or a few colors, are extremely simple in their construction, distinct style (inform and grasped at a glance), and graphic decorative character. the more than 400 examples taken from three manuscripts provide the means for forming a clear idea about Armenian decorative art in this new period (plates 93-100).
From the late Middle Ages and more recent times especially important are the decorative works of the creative, transitional painter Hakob Djughayetsi (16th-17th centuries; plates 93-96). the early part of his life was spent in Armenia but later he lived in Persia. He was one of those thousands of native Armenians who, in 1604, in a time of forced emigration arranged by Shah-Abbas, was deported to Persia and settled in New Julfa. Here too Hakob Djughayetsi remained loyal to his art. The ornamentations of his manuscript of 1610 are striking for their purity of colors and the clarity, originality, and innovativeness of their employment. Into variegated, decorative motifs inherited from Armenia new, eastern-style ornamentation is inserted (mainly Persian). The latter include embellishments framing the text, new arrangements of the interweaving of floral and bird motifs, and new, geometrically-designed headpieces, all painted with strong feeling. Here the painter adopts foreign forms and uniquely makes them serve his nation's artistic requirements.
The decorative work of Hakob Djughayetsi is saturated with warm vitality. The colouration fulfils an important role. By means of the colour the artist attains the expression not only on content but also of feeling. His numerous and variously colored designs, with the colorful plot miniatures and pictures of the Evangelists, deflect the beauties of nature and of life. About that the colophon of the manuscript also testifies when the painter mentions his decorated manuscript: "a garden blossoming with flowers like a springtime paradise" and "a paradise filled with roses".
Hakob Djughayetsi enriched Armenian decorative fine art by his uniquely expressive means of execution: by his new designs, his illustrated reflection upon the conceptions of the world around him, and by his resonant and vivacious colors.
The illuminations of a Bible of 1649 by the painter Herapet also concern in new Julfa school (plates 99-100).
Notable examples of Armenian ornamentation also exist in manuscripts of Diaspora communities. The manuscript ornamentations created in scriptoria in Constantinople, Lvov, Kamenets-Podolsk, and other places, are striking because of their variegatedness and their apparent desire to preserve older traditions of Armenian illuminated decoration, especially traditions of the 13th and 14th centuries. In some ornaments one also notices the influence of Western European etching.
So it is that the art of manuscript ornamentation, creatively cultivated and perfected over a continuous period of more than a thousand years by talented presentatives of the Armenian people, has maintained its interest and even now its great artistic charm.
manuscript ornamentation is one of the burning creations of the creative intelligence of the Armenian people. Here, more than in other field of culture, are expressed abundantly and prominently, through attention to books, the keen artistic taste of the Armenian people and a love of and the high potential for grasping artistically the beauty of that outside world that surrounds man. in content profoundly rich by nature and brought to human and artistic perfection these small, diminutive artistic forms rise to high level of art.
Armenian manuscript ornamentation not only occupies a large place in the nation's fine artistic culture but is also an important contribution in the treasury of international art.

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