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Note: Attached photograph shows relief sculpture of Armenian King Gagik holding model of the 10th century Holy Cross (Surp Khach) Cathedral on Aghtamar Island, Lake Van.
TALK ON ARMENIAN ARCHITECTURAL MODELS AT NAASR BY DR. CHRISTINA MARANCI Dr. Christina Maranci of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, will give an illustrated lecture on “The Tiny Churches of Armenia: Medieval Architectural Models,” on Thursday, June 7, at 8:00 p.m., at the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) Center, 395 Concord Ave., Belmont, MA. This lecture is being given in memory of Arshag Merguerian (1926-2005), architect and an active member and friend of NAASR for nearly fifty years.
The expenses for the lecture will be covered by funds contributed to NAASR following Merguerian’s passing in 2005.While most scholars of Armenian architecture focus on life-size churches, few have paid attention to a tiny, but related tradition: the stone architectural models of the Caucasus.
Produced in great number and in a variety of contexts, these diminutive churches form a unique tradition within the art of the Middle Ages, East or West.Underexamined Aspect of Medieval Armenian ArchitectureHeld by donors in sculptural relief, mounted on church gables, and fixed to the interior portals of monasteries, the models assume the form of miniature domed churches.
Considering medieval Armenian architectural and textual traditions, this talk will ask why they emerged and what they might have meant to the contemporary viewer.
Did the models hold a ritual function? Increasing epigraphic, sculptural, and architectural evidence suggests that ceremonial movement occurred outside, as well as inside the church. This hypothesis may thus shed light on models such as that held by King Gagik at Agh'tamar. The models might also reflect a broader, self-referential trend in Armenian architecture of the tenth century and later.
In considering the performative, iconographic, and practical roles of stone models in the Transcaucasus, Dr. Maranci will provide a new framework for understanding an understudied yet striking tradition of medieval art.Admission to the event is free (donations appreciated).
The NAASR Center is located opposite the First Armenian Church and next to the U.S. Post Office. Ample parking is available around the building and in adjacent areas. The lecture will begin promptly at 8:00 p.m.More information about the lecture is available by calling 617-489-1610, faxing 617-484-1759, e-mailing, or writing to NAASR, 395 Concord Ave., Belmont, MA 02478.


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