AGBU Webtalks


Trade, Religion and Art in Medieval Armenia

C. Griffith Mann

Dr. Mann on the influences that shaped Armenian artistic practices through the Middle Ages.


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January 2019

Trade, Religion and Art in Medieval Armenia

In our fifth and final video from a series featuring the curators of Armenia!, Dr. C. Griffith Mann examines the influences that shaped Armenian art in the Middle Ages—specifically, Armenians’ dominance on medieval trade routes and their identity as Christians through centuries of complicated geo-political changes. Dr. Mann concludes that while artistic practices in Armenia were undoubtedly informed by their relationships with the dominant empires of the time, they are in many ways uniquely Armenian and speak to a specific people and culture formed at the crossroads of the East and West.

On view at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in the fall and winter of 2018, Armenia! was the Museum’s first large-scale exhibition dedicated to the artistic and cultural achievements of the Armenian people in the Middle Ages. In a series of videos for AGBU WebTalks, the curators of the show discussed the significance of this unique exhibition and the works represented in it.

Dr. C. Griffith Mann has served as The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Michel David-Weill Curator in Charge of the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters since September 2013. In this role, he is responsible for the medieval collections and curatorial staff in the Met’s main building, and for directing the staff and operations of the Met Cloisters, the branch of the Metropolitan Museum dedicated to the art and architecture of medieval Europe. Dr. Mann received his B.A. in art history and history from Williams College, and his Ph.D. in medieval art from The Johns Hopkins University. A specialist in the arts of late medieval Italy, he has published on civic patronage, painting, and devotion in Tuscany. As a curator, Dr. Mann has worked on exhibitions on the medieval cult of relics, the art and archaeology of medieval Novgorod, and French manuscript illumination of the 13th century. Dr. Mann formerly served as the Chief Curator and Deputy Director at The Cleveland Museum of Art, where he helped to lead the museum’s reinstallation, acquisition, and exhibition programs, and as medieval curator and Director of the Curatorial Division at The Walters Art Museum, where he worked on exhibitions and the permanent collection.

Topics: Architecture Arts/Culture Religion