Armenia: Art, religion, and trade in the Middle Ages, edited by Helen C. Evans

10 January 2020

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Portrait of St John the Evangelist from a Gospel Book from Isfahan, illumin­ated by Mesrop of Khizan. The illustration is from Armenia: Art, religion, and trade in the Middle Ages, edited by Helen C. Evans (Yale, £50 (Church Times Bookshop £45); 978-1-58839-660-0).

St John is seen dictating to Prochorus, customarily depicted as his scribe, in the cave at Patmos, represented by the dark, irregular outline. The Evangelist’s words are shown to be inspired from heaven.

In two full-page illustrations from an Armenian Bible, dated 1586, the artist Hakob of Julfa depicts the large figure of God. On the left-hand folio, God is giving a blessing to the four apocalyptic beasts of St John’s vision, which appear from behind the marginal frame. The right-hand illustration is explained in a caption: “it is the heavenly gate that God opened when he took pity upon us”

Sam Fogg/David BrunettiSam Fogg/David Brunetti

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