By Florence Avakian
NEW YORK — Look in any direction and you’ll see richly illuminated manuscripts, opulent gilded reliquaries, rare textiles, exquisitely carved khatchkars, precious liturgical woodwork, rare printed books — and the artistic pièce de résistance: a 16-foot painted map showing the locations of the Armenian churches of historic Armenia before the Genocide.
These are some of the sacred objects that grace eight rooms at the world famous Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. More than 140 exquisite pieces of devotional art make up the monumental exhibition titled “Armenia!” which explores the remarkable artistic, cultural, and spiritual achievement of the Armenian people over 14 centuries.
On Thursday, September 20, a crowded preview for the media took place before the official opening on September 22. This extraordinary exhibit will be on view for the public until January 13, 2019.
Introducing this special event were president and CEO of the Museum Daniel Weiss, as well as a representative of the Hagop Kevorkian Fund which has had a 50-year association with the Metropolitan.
Dr. Helen Evans, the Mary and Michael Jaharis Curator for Byzantine Art at the Met, who was the curator and organizer of this exhibition, stated that the Met’s exhibition presents “the importance of the medieval art of a people on the border between East and West. Armenians forged a lasting national identity from their early 4th century conversion to Christianity, making them the first Christian nation in the world.”