Imprints of a Civilization

(ISBN: 978-88-572-0410-9)
Skira Editore (Publisher)
2011 Milan
406 pages
Size: 9 3/4" x 11 1/4"
Language(s): English

Published for the celebrations of the fifth centenary of the printing of the first book in Armenian in Venice (1512), this volume offers a rich, fascinating chronological survey, presenting over 200 works from the leading museums and libraries of Armenia and Europe, and including some extremely rare manuscripts and miniatures (loaned exceptionally for the exhibition in Venice). Together, they document the great achievements of the Armenian civilisation in the spiritual, artistic, architectural, economic and intellectual sectors. The ancient stelae with engraved cross, the miniatures with bright colours, the sacred architecture and precious reliquaries preserved for centuries at the Holy See of the Apostolic Armenian Church at Echmiadzin will lead the visitor in his discovery of the civilisation of this great people from the early days of Christianity to the end of the 19th century. The book places a great emphasis on the long and fruitful contacts between the Armenians and other cultures in Europe and the Far East. In particular, it illustrates the special and centuries-old relationship with Venice through a series of historic documents, manuscripts and works of art, describing how the presence of the Armenians in the lagoon began and developed, and their political, economic and cultural contacts with the city. In the last section, thanks to a series of rare manuscripts, the book takes a look at Armenian science, theology, philosophy, historiography and literature. A special section is dedicated to Armenian printing, which dates back to 1512. The finest editions from the presses dotted throughout the Armenian colonies around the world are presented here. In this special chapter, particular emphasis is accorded to the glorious Armenian printing tradition in Venice, which reached its greatest heights thanks to the hard work and enlightened dedication of the Mechitarist Fathers.

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