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Mysteries of Armenia

The Triumph of Freedom

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The Armenian medieval culture was marked by a truly unprecedented freedom of creation in the whole Christian world. The glyph of the Lord on the upper layer of the tympanum of St Stepanos Nahavka church is a unique example of free creation. The stunning construction on the territory of 1. Noravank Monastery dates from the 10th–13th centuries, although at the beginning of the 14th century it was supplemented with new artistic solutions. The famous painter and architect Momik was the author of most of the works. The genius undergraduate of Gladzor University had long been engaged in miniature painting. However, after his eyesight had deteriorated, he switched over to spatial art.
In contrast to European artists, who had purely associative perception of God (e.g. the right hand, a ray, etc), the author of the image in the tympanum depicted him as a bearded man. The Divine Sprit is a dove born from his beard that touches Adam’s lips with its beak on the left palm of the Almighty. The scene of Christ’s crucifixion bounded by the images of the Blessed Virgin and John the Evangelist is under the right hand. In the scene, one can also see the interpreter of dreams, Prophet Daniel, lying under the cross and touching it with his lifted hand. Apparently, Western Christianity could not allow such liberal visualization of biblical motifs.

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