Trend versus cultural context in medieval art : the case of the Kirants paintings

Title: Trend versus cultural context in medieval art : the case of the Kirants paintings
Variant title:
  • Trendy versus kulturní kontext ve středověkém umění : případ nástěnných maleb v kostele u vesnice Kiranc'
Source document: Convivium. 2018, vol. 5, iss. 2, pp. 32-49
  • ISSN
    2336-3452 (print)
    2336-808X (online)
Type: Article
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Do modern interpretations of medieval artifacts reflect how donors and contemporary viewers perceived these works? Was elite art necessarily dominated by the "metropolitan" aesthetic standards as modern studies present them? These questions' validity can be illustrated with numerous cases, notably with the paintings surviving in the church of a Chalcedonian monastery near the village of Kirants (now part of the Armenian province of Tavush). Built in the estates of the Georgianized Mkhargrdzeli house whose representatives held important positions at the Georgian royal court, Kirants visibly manifests the donors' preferences and creative attitude toward different trends of the Orthodox oikoumene. The striking coexistence of features characteristic of progressive and conservative trends, presented through an unusual combination of the painting program and stylistic peculiarities, is a distinct reminder of the challenges of viewing medieval art from a modern standpoint.