Category Archives: CULTURE


A comparative analysis of the situation in 1918-1925

Gurgen V. Vardanyan
At the end of May 1918 the Declaration of the Republic of Armenia (RA) opened a new page in the history of the Armenian school. During two years of existence of RA the democratic changes in the sphere of education were aimed at the creation of the new national-state educational system. After the establishment of the Soviet power in Armenia C(B)PA did not continue educational reforms. Moreover, it followed a new policy of consistent adoption and realization of the legal acts and resolutions. Mostly they were directed towards the denationalized school system’s creation which would correspond to the new regime. In the 1920s the Soviet administrative system exerted efforts to impart the Communist ideology to Armenian pedagogy in order to turn it into a humble instrument. But the most part of Armenian teachers continued to educate pupils in the national spirit.



Arthur A. Hovhannisyan
This article is dedicated to the study of the bronze sculptures of well-known Armenian sculptor-artist Khoren Der-Harutyan. Der-Harutyan’s works were formed in the early 30’s of the 20th century, outside of the historical homeland, particularly on the Latin American island of Jamaica. Here he created numerous colorful paintings and graphic works, as well as, great amount of sculptures from different types of local solid wood. In the following years Der-Harutyan’s art was developed in the USA, England, Italy, as well as, in Armenia.

Khoren Der-Harutyan’s works generally present not only tragic events referring his childhood, but also the basic socio and political problems of the 20th century, which have left a deep mark on the fate of humankind. The works of the artist reflected the disasters of the Armenian Genocide, the Second World War, Hiroshima atomic explosion, the Vietnam War, etc. But the images with tragic content are often followed by the works with the spirit of heroism, optimism, love and unity.

The bronze sculptures, which have been around since the 1960’s are important in Khoren Der-Harutyan’s art. In 1962-1963 Der- Harutyan lived in the city of Florence, Italy, where he improved the techniques of working with bronze. The artist was particularly influenced by the monuments of the Italian Renaissance. There is a variety of themes and styles touching eternal universal themes not only in his works of wood and stone, but also in his bronze sculptures. Here the themes of heroic struggle, survival, unyielding human spirit are also considered. The style of the artist is dramatically changed in this period. The slick, round forms of his wooden and stone sculptures are replaced by sharp, rough surfaces. Besides, working with bronze DerHarutyan deals more freely with sculptural forms and as a result, the bronze works of different periods get lively, vibrant forms.



Arman A. Makaryan

Key words – gender upbringing, child – reader, children’s press, images, girls, boys, biological gender, physical differences, role penetrations.

The article is dedicated to the gender study of pictures printed in “Theatre: A Friend to Children”. In the course of the study the children’s periodical is observed as a peculiar semiotic system addressed to children in which the imageunits inform the reader about their models of gender upbringing. The girl and boy characters embodied in the pictures are the examples of self-identification, “ideal heroes” who must be imitated.

The boys are strong, masculine, doing physical jobs and have undertaken the function of protecting the weak ones, while the girls have put on their shoulders the burden of housework and are standing beside the men with dropped heads and in modest posture. In the pictures of the periodical this plot model becomes an acting pattern from which only one hero is deviating, that is, Gevorg who has got “a girl’s function”.



Artur T. Vardikyan

Key words – Artavazd Peleshyan, Hamo Beknazaryan, Ara Vahuni, Harutyun Khachatryan, traditional documentary cinema, poetic cinema, concreteness of film, Karabakh movement, film reels, poetical and poetic elements.

Filmmaker Artavazd Peleshyan is often associated with documentary cinema. However a documentary director’s main goal is to capture the fact of reality on camera. For Peleshyan, however, the fact is merely a means of creating his own poetic reality, where all in-frame objects lose their concreteness and strive to generalizations. The reason for this false association is simply that, just like documentarists, Peleshyan uses unstaged reality as the “building material” for his films. Nonetheless, it has to be said that Peleshyan’s work has greatly influenced the generations of Armenian filmmakers that followed. While keeping the attributes of Soviet documentary film, directors Ara Vahuni and Ruben Gevorgyants added new poetic elements to their films. Directors of later generation, such as Grigor Harutyunyan, Harutyun Khachatryan and Garegin Zakoyan, who were influenced by Peleshyan in one way or an other, did not just use poetic elements, but made structurally poetic films. Thus after Peleshyan started his work Armenian cinematography discovered its new course and realized itself in basically all genres of poetic film.



Lilit Sh. Mikaelyan

Key words – Aghtamar; Church of Holy Cross; Kingdom of Artsruni; Armenian medieval sculpture; Early Christian art; Iconography; Prophet Jonah; Jewish sources; Kētos; Sea monster; Vishap; Senmurv; Sasanian culture.

The Church of the Holy Cross (915-921) on the island of Aghtamar is famous for its rich sculptural decoration of facades and for the wideness of the stories, in particular on the Old Testament. There are many studies on this monument, nevertheless the interpretations of several compositions and the iconographic origins of some images of it are still in dispute. Among them the story of Prophet Jonah (Jonah 1-4) is notable, which occupies the entire south-western part of the main sculptural band and is the most extensive narrative composition of Aghtamar. On the left side of the large composition there is the scene of the swallowing of Jonah by the whale and then there is the episode of the release of the prophet from the belly of the sea monster,and his rest under the shadow of the gourd bush, and above it is depicted the scene of preaching in Nineveh. The iconography of scenes and images of the Jonah’s story in Aghtamar has early Christian prototypes: the fragment of a sailboat with the figures,the representation of the prophet’s naked figure, as well as,the image of the sea monster date back to the ancient ketos. The baldness of the prophet in the recreation scene comes from the Jewish sources, according to which he had lost his hair being in the fiery belly of the whale. At the church of Aghtamar we have one of the earliest samples of this type of Jonah’s iconography in Christian art. The scene of preaching in Nineveh is also a very early and unique interpretation of the episode, not known in early Christian art indicating a certain creative approach of the artist. At Aghtamar both sea monsters are done with the head of a dog and the body of a fish, but the whale ejecting the prophet has also wings and paws of the predator. The representation of the whale in two different guises in the church of the Holy Cross is unique for the Christian art. The iconography of the second monster and details of its depiction reveal obvious parallels with the image of the so-called «senmurv» in Sasanian art. According to the latest studies, it was the embodiment of Farn – the deity of fortune, glory and heavenly patronage of Zoroastrian mythology. The use of the iconography of the «senmurv» in the image of the whale on Aghtamar bears out its interpretation in a positive way against the orthodox Christian tradition, but is accordant to the symbol of the whale in Jewish exegesis as the savior and patron of the prophet (Midrash, Haggadah, Philo of Alexandria). In the Sogdian culture, close to Sasanian Iran, sea monsters were the patrons of kings and heroes, as we can see in VIII century frescoes in Panjakent. The influence of Iranian art is quite significant for Aghtamar from the perspective of the cultural contacts of the Kingdom of Artsruni with the Arab Caliphate, which resulted in the revival of Sasanian art. We can find the images of the whale as a sea monster in X century monuments of Transcaucasia, too. The bald Jonah in the mouth of a sea monster is known in the décor of Khakhu Cathedral in Tayk, on the relief of the church in KvaisaJvari in South Ossetia, on the fragment of the templon from the church in Dranda in Abkhazia (all dated to the X century). The latter confirms the existence of a common tradition of the depiction of the story in Armenia and throughout Transcaucasia in this period. Later, in XIII century Cilician miniature, as well as on the relief of the high apse in the Church of the Mother of God (1205) of Makaravank, this story is interpreted according to the Western iconography, where the whale has already the appearance of a real fish.



Gegham M. Asatryan

Key words – Makravank, 9-11th centuries cross-stones, earlykhachkars, simplicity, Kotayk’s artistic style, “Hrazdan type” of cross stones, “Annie style”.

There are numerous cross-stones in different stages of preservation throughout the territory of the complex of Makaravank located in the north-west ofKotayk’sregional center, Hrazdan. Early cross-stones date back to the 9-11th centuries. They, along with the patterns of general cross-stone art development, still have certain peculiarities and thus, since 9-11th centuries have been the basis for the “Hrazdan type” of cross-stones, which dates back to the twelfth century and is older than the other, i.e., “Geghard type” formed in Kotayk. They have playedunique role in establishing it, as well asin the separation from the early cross-stones,that is, the cross-stone of 959 AD, which is a separate set of crossstone school in two neighboring provincesof Kotayk and Aragatsotn.There are also several other early cross-stones as well as the cross-stone of 1039, which, as we found out is a cross-stone of “Annie style”. The latter clearly allows us to conclude that this style had not gone beyond the central parts of Kotayk.



Shushanik S. Hambaryan

Key words – Constantinople, Markos Patkerahan, manuscript, miniature painting, portrait, martyrdom, fathers of the church, saints, ornament, ornamental script.

Markos Patkerahan is a miniaturist of the 17th century, one of the outstanding representatives of Constantinopolitan school of miniature. There are eleven extant manuscripts illustrated by Markos Patkerahan. Menologium No. 1502 was copied at the church of Saint Sargis the General and his son Martiros in Constantinople in 1651 by the scribe Christosatur. The Menologium contains six hundred and five marginal and half-page miniatures, eleven elaborate headpieces and one hundred and twenty-seven separate marginal ornaments including birds and temples. Markos Patkerahan was responsible for these illustrations . This manuscript is a rare example of a lavishly decorated Menologium and has particular value for any historian of the seventeenth-century Armenian miniature painting.



Ruben S. Angaladyan

Key words – Ara Shiraz, exhibition, talent, responsibility, artistic life, artist of the sixties, composition of a sculptural portrait, real beauty, Armenian culture.

The works by sculptor Ara Shiraz that are presented in the National Gallery of Armenia from November 18, 2017 until the end of the year, bear the stamp of an artistic personality. Clay and wax in his works seek and find the power of his mind, the blood of his tribe, the warmth of the soul striving for the future. In his work he puts a higher level of analysis than are just the justice or beauty. Ara Shiraz saw in Armenia not only the old history, not only the greatness of the spirit, but also shortcomings and imperfections. He was true to this artistic logic of development, a stony landscape open before the winds, he could argue until he was almost to death with the Time itself, that is, with Armenia itself. So he passed away, with anxiety for his country, for the future and for his culture!

Therefore, the works of Shiraz, in which contemporaries are represented, convince, inspiring confidence in our souls, that although his creative path was unexpectedly and quite early completed, this difficult path was passed to the end. It’s time for a deep understanding of his multi-layered work. It’s time for Ara Shiraz to take his rightful place in the Armenian culture, beginning from the 60s of the 20th century to the first decade of the 21st century.



Ruben S. Angaladyan

Key words – Ivan Aivazovsky, Armenian community, Armenian themes, the spiritual and heroic history of Armenia, portraits of outstanding Armenians, Russian sailors, pulse of historical homeland.

The purpose of the work is to show how well the art of Ivan Aivazovsky (1817-1900) fits into the Armenian world and if the great seascapeist can be considered as a Russian as well as Armenian painter.

As a man, he was not alien to his roots, he felt like an Armenian and was proud of his creative and spiritual people. He greatly respected Armenian traditions, in fact, was brought up in a traditional Armenian family, and therefore the Armenian community was always top-priority for the artist. He created more than 40 canvases on Armenian themes. Some of them are dedicated to the spiritual and heroic history of Armenia, others are portraits of his family and friends, as well as portraits of outstanding Armenians – Catholicos of All Armenians Mkrtich Khrimyan, Minister Loris-Melikov, Mayor of Nor Nakhichevan Kh. Khalibyan.

He received encouragement, attention, and then – really high recognition in Russia. He loved Russia’s devotion to the sea, admiring the courage of Russian sailors. But he never moved away from the native Armenian people and wherever he was, he was always feeling the pulse of his historical homeland.



Sargis G. Petrosyan

Key words – Armenian highland, king, epic hero, leopard, leopard skin, etymology, taboo, anagram, man, morning, the vernal equinox, New Year, offering, arrow, noose, chamois, pictography

The leopard’s mythological image is the famous zoomorphic symbol of the ancient Mideast legendary king which was associated with the leopard and was drawn primarily on the leopard, afterwards in the leopard’s skin. As informed by Movses Khorenatsi, the Midian king Azhdahak, the rival of the Armenian King TigranYervandian (VI c. B.C.), told that he had the following evil dream: in the country of Haykids (i.e. Armenia), on the top of a high mountain (mount Masis – Big Ararat is meant) a beautiful woman (Mother Goddess is meant) gave birth to three godlike heroes, the first of which headed towards the West, riding a lion, the second, on a leopard, headed for the North, and the third attacked Midia, bridling a dragon.

In the Indo-European poetic texts of mythological nature the ancient poets chose the words so as to reproduce the sounds of the heroes’ names or the epithets of the characters the poem (hymn) was dedicated to. In the ancient Armenian poem about the New-year death desire of the Armenian King ArtashesPartev (told by GrigorMagistros) the person of the hero-king as a male-leopard was coded via the anagram. On one of the rock drawings on mount Ukhtasar in Syunik (pic. 3) the hunter is standing on a leopard. He is armed with a bow, arrows and a lasso, that is to say as a neolithic foot hunter – the prototype of the hero-king. His figure/ body is drawn on the central part of the stone and is surrounded by wild she-goats (on the left stone) and he-goats (on the right stone). The drawing represents the motives of the ancient Armenian myth about the ritual new-year hunting of the King-Leopard.