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Index of Armenian Art: Armenian Architecture


Type: Domed Basilica - Longitudinal three-aisled
Location: In the village and region of the same name in Armenia
Date: VII c
Evidence for date:
Important details:
State of preservation:
Summary: The Cathedral of T'alin is located in the village and region of the same name in Armenia (Coord. 40-23/43-53).

On the basis of architectural evidence, the church is assigned to the 7th century when the region of Talin was ruled by the Gamsarakan family. Prince Nerseh Kamsarakan is known to have commissioned the nearby small church of T'alin, St. Astuacacin, (A-0022) according to its building inscription. The Cathedral may have been constructed in the second half of the seventh century (Mnac'akanyan, 1964; Harouthiounian, 1975).

The church was severely damaged through the centuries. An earthquake destroyed the cupola and part of the drum in 1840. Restoration work was undertaken in 1947. In 1958, further work was begun and is continuing as of 1981. Many areas of the church need repair, including walls, arches, vaults, foundations, the drum and portions of the ornamental sculpture.

T'alin is a longitudinal three-aisled church with a dome and with three projecting Apses on the east, north, and south sides respectively. Its plan appears to be a synthesis of the cruciform and the older Armenian basilica-type churches with cupola (Dvin, A-0016 or Mren, A-2176). Each Apse is polygonal on the exterior.
Four large piers, linked by arches, define the central square that supported the cupola (now collapsed). Pendentives are used to make the transition from the square below to the circular drum of the cupola above. Entrances are from the north, south, and west elevations.

The Cathedral is one of the most imposing churches in Armenia in size and height. It is constructed of native tuff stone with colors ranging from rose to gray predominating. As at Aruc (A-0002) there are many large windows. Each Apse has three framed on the exterior with a blind arcade. A variety of floral and geometric motifs are carved on the arches which rest on slender double colonnettes. A similar arcade frames the windows of the drum. Other openings are crowned with arches, each consisting of a band of sculptured ornament. The tall niches on the west facade have no constructional significance with respect to the interior division of space (as at Hrip'sime or Aruc, A-0020 and A-0002). Traces of col
or on the exterior cornices and crowns of the windows indicate that they were painted at on time.

On the interior, T'alin contains remnants of important wall paintings which corroborate the testimony of the late 6th or early 7th century Vrt'anes K'ert'ogh that gospel cycles were painted on the interiors of Armenian churches. Christ's entry into Jerusalem is represented on the south wall. The figure of Christ seated on a donkey was clearly visible in 1918. At present, the only segments of the scene visible are the portraits of the six apostles.

T'alin contains the only existing Armenian example of a wall painting showing Christ in a medallion with busts of the apostles. The figures surround the Apse arch. The Apse itself once contained a Theophanic vision, as at Mren (A-2176), Lmbat (A-0008) and Gosh (A-0083). In addition, there are portraits of saints standing in pairs between the window of the Apse. Other examples of standing saints appear at Aruc (A-0002) and Mren (A-2176), both 7th century churches.

ALISHAN, GH. Ayrarat. Venice, 1880, 134-143
LYNCH, H.F.B. Armenia, Travels and Studies. 2 vols. London, 1901 (Rept. Beirut, 1965-1967). I, 322-325.
EP'RIKIAN, S. Bnashkharhik Bararan. 2 vols. Venice, 1903-1905. I, 5-6.
STRZYGOWSKI, J. Die Baukunst der Armenier und Europa. 2 vols. , Vienna, 1918. I, 124.
TCHOUBINACHVILI, G. "Die Grosse Kirke von Thalin in Armenien" Byzantinische Zeitschrift XXIX, 1930
JAKOBSON, A.L. Esquisse de l'Histoire de l'Architecture Armenienne, IVe-XVIIe Siecle, Moscow and Leningrad, 1952 (in Russian).
ARUTJUNJAN, V.M. AND SAFARJAN, S.A. Pamjatniki Armjanskogo Zodcestva, Moscow and Leningrad, 1951, 45.
EREMIAN, A. Khram Hrip'sime. Erevan, 1955, 51.
SAHINIAN, A. K'asaghi Basilikayi Charatarapetut'yan Patmut'yan. Erevan, 1955, 124.
TOKARSKII, N.M. Architektura Armenii IV-XIV VV. Erevan, 1961, 101-104.
MNAC'AKANYAN, St. "Haykakan Chartarapetut'yune VI Dari Erkrard Kesic' Minch'ew VII Dari Verje", Aknark Hay Chartarapetut'yan Patmut'yan, Ed. B. Arak'elian and M.D. Mazmanian. Erevan, 1964, 167-168.
SARKISIAN, G.A. AND VLASOV, A.V. "Architektura Armenii", Leningrad and Moscow, 1966, 212-213.
Architettura Medievale Armena, Roma-Palazzo Venezia 10-30 Giugno, 1968. Rome, 1968, 88.
DER NERSESSIAN, S. The Armenians. Praeger Series Ancient Peoples and Places No. 68. New York, 1970, 103, 104, 137, 138.
HAROUTHIOUNIAN, V. AND HASRATHIAN, M. Monuments of Armenia. Beirut, 1975, 62-63.
DER NERSESSIAN, S. Armenian Art. Paris, 1977 and 1978, 36, 55, 71, 72.
HOVHANNISIAN, K. Chartarapetakan Hushardzanneri Veranorogume Sovetakan Hayastanum. Erevan, 1978, 248-249.



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