MESROP OF XIZAN: An Armenian Master of the Seventeenth Century

176 pages, paperback, 300 x 240 mm, 120 colour illustrations
PRICE: £30.00
ISBN: 978 0 955339 33 2


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By Mikayel Arakelyan

Illuminator, painter, scribe, clerk, teacher, doctor of theology, restorer and binder, Mesrop was one of the greatest Armenian artists of his and following generations. He was prolific, working for at least forty-two years in Sos (New Julfa) from 1608 to 1651. This book will be the first serious study of the 46 of his manuscripts that have survived. The focus of the book, however, is The Four Gospels, one of the few manuscripts painted entirely by Mesrop’s hand and one of the most extensively illuminated in his oeuvre. It includes an extraordinary series of illuminations of both Old and New Testament scenes, with no less than twenty-three full page miniatures, and seventeen smaller miniatures.

The author will shed light not only on Mesrop’s career but on those of Armenian miniaturists of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Through a thorough analysis of Mesrop’s works Arakelyan is able to closely study the working methods of artists working in the scriptoria of Vaspurakan, Mokk' and New Julfa.  He demonstrates the dramatic and exciting way in which these artists deliberately maintained a style of illumination rooted in Early Christianity. The monograph will have tremendous significance not only for Armenologists but also for Byzantinists and all historians of Christian art.

Dr Mikayel Arakelyan was born in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, in 1970. In 1992 he graduated from the Yerevan State Institute of Fine and Dramatic Arts with a B.A. and a M.A. in Design and Painting. He went on to obtain a Ph.D. in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia in 2004. Recently he finished work on his second Ph.D. at the Indian, Iranian and Armenian Studies Department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research concerns the Armenian School of Miniature Painting at the New Julfa in the 17th century. Currently, Arakelyan is a Senior Researcher at the Matenadaran Institute of Ancient Manuscripts (Yerevan), and author of numerous scholarly articles and conference papers. Arakelyan is a member of both the Association Internationale des Études Arméniennes and and Armenian National Committee of the Association of Byzantinists.

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