Padova | Opening of the exhibition: Armenia. Wall paintings in Armenian churches from the seventh to thirteenth centuries

Giuseppe Monarini

An exhibition of frescoes in Armenian churches of the VII-XIII centuries was opened in Zuckerman’s Palace in Padua, a few dozen meters from the famous Scroveni Chapel, painted by Giotto.

The opening, which was promoted and approved by the Veneto region, was attended by the Padua City Council, along with the city’s civic museums, cultural advisor Dr. Andrea Colacio and Dr. Francesca Veronese, Director of Museums. The Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Armenia in Venice, the Italian-Armenian Society and the Crystal House also collaborated on this cultural project.

The exhibition is organized by the architect Ara Zaryan and Dr. Christine Lamoreaux. Ara Zaryan is a specialist in restoration, a graduate of the Yerevan Polytechnic, deepens his studies at the Art Institute of the Armenian Academy of Sciences. He worked at the Institute of Preservation and Restoration of Historical Monuments in the Republic of Armenia. Participated in the study and restoration of murals, he has published many articles and co-authored several books with Dr. Christine Lamourou, including “Dadivank, the Revival of the Miracle”, Yerevan, 2018, “Restoration of frescoes in many Armenian churches early Christian eras”, Yerevan, 2019, “Hagbat-preservative restoration of the frescoes of the 10th, 10th, and 13th centuries in the Church of the Holy Sign, 976-991”, Yerevan 2020, “Dadivank-La save-renation des peintures Murales datées 1297 dans l’église Kathoghike” explains in 1214”, Yerevan, 2021. For his great contribution to the preservation and dissemination of Armenian culture, he was awarded medals and certificates from the Armenian Ministries of Reconstruction, Culture and Diaspora.

Christine Lamoro, from Belgium, restorer of artwork and frescoes. He graduated in architecture from the Institut La Cambre in Brussels in 1974. In 1975/6 he took a specialist course in the restoration and preservation of monuments at the ICCROM in Rome and obtained a diploma, after which he volunteered to restore the artistic heritage of Venzon (Friuli), which It was badly damaged by the earthquake of May 1976. In 1992, she started her work restoring ancient artworks. He studied the frescoes preserved in Christian churches and returned more than a hundred frescoes on the interior and exterior walls of churches, chapels and medieval buildings in the Veneto region. Recently, he traveled several times to Armenia as did Zaryan Ara to restore many preserved frescoes and partitions in Armenian Apostolic churches.

The exhibition, enthusiastically praised by writer Antonia Arslan, illustrates a professional journey of research and restoration/conservation of a series of murals in the churches of Armenia and Artakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) that the authors have made, with passion and perseverance, in the past ten years. The exhibition consists of 27 color photographic plates measuring 70 x 100 cm showing the restoration of murals in three churches: Lmbatavank, Haghbat Monastery and Dadivank Monastery. The exhibition is very important because it displays the tradition of frescoes in Armenian churches, a tradition that has not always been appreciated. The frescoes, executed with lime, sand, and natural pigments, offer representations of a saint or essential church mysteries. They are found mainly in three regions of Armenia: the northern region bordering Georgia, the region around Mount Aragats, and the southern mountainous region bordering Iran.

An illustrated brochure with notes on the origins of Armenia, the fresco tradition in the Lmbatavank Church, the Haghbat and Dadivank monasteries was presented with many illustrations.

The opening ended with the performance of some Armenian songs.

The presence of this exhibition in the city of Padova is very important, not only because it continues the relations between the Armenian people of the Diaspora and the Motherland, but also because it offers us precious testimonies, still unknown to the general public.

Giuseppe Monarini

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