On August 25, 1998, Pro fessor Levon Chookaszian, UNESCO Chair of Armenian Art from Yerevan State University spoke to a crowd in the Alice Peters Auditorium on the topic of “Royal and Self Portrait in Armenian Painting.” This was the first presentation in the Armenian Studies Program Fall Lecture Series. Professor Chookaszian is a well-published expert on this topic. Through this vividly illustrated lecture, Professor Chookaszian presented numerous examples of Armenian Art, most of which are centuries old.
Professor Chookaszian, whose field of specialization is manuscripts and manuscript illuminations, is responsible for the reopening of the Chair of Armenian Art at Yerevan State University in 1996. He has published literally hundreds of articles and entries in major encyclopedias and is now working on a major book on the most famous Armenian painter, the 13th century artist Toros Roslin.
Included in the realm of Armenian Art are works such as manuscripts, portraits, stone carvings and miniatures. It is also interesting to note that several examples of Armenian coins were presented as examples of Armenian Art. Though much artwork and many Armenian manuscripts have been destroyed through the course of history, we are very fortunate to still be able to view many works of art that have been wisely preserved. Perhaps some of the longest-surviving forms of Armenian Art can be found in and around the churches of Armenia. These elaborately decorated churches not only serve as a symbol of the art form of Armenian Architecture but also serve as historical remnants of the kings who built them. Because of the rich history of Armenian Art, many people find it to be a very captivating example of Armenian culture. “I find the area of Armenian Art to be very thought provoking,” said senior Chad Kirkorian.
Armenian Art, in a sense, serves as a window through which we can view Armenian History. ÒI had no idea that Armenian Art and culture were so interwoven,Ó said junior Armen Ghanbarian. Numerous Armenian kings including Tigran the Great and the great King Gagik commissioned artists to transfer their images to objects such as coins. And thanks to them, we are able to catch a glimpse of Armenian life from their time up through the present.