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Armenia: The People of the Ark Exhibition in Rome

Armenia: The People of the Ark


Rome – Vittoriano Museum Complex-Central Hall

6 March – 3 May 2015

On the occasion of the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide an exhibition titled “Armenia. The people of the Ark” will take place from March 6th to May 3rd in the Central Hall of Vittoriano Museum Complex. The exhibition is organized under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia, the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to the Italian Republic, the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to the Holy See and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta as well as in close cooperation with the Armenian Mekhitarist Congregation. The exhibition also enjoys the valuable support of the Union of the Armenians of Italy. It is the aim and strong desire of the organizers to involve possibly wider Italian and international public in an evocative experience of exploring the Armenian rich culture.
The exhibition is a vivid example of synergies among Armenian institutions (History Museum of Armenia – The Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, Museums of Holy Etchmiadzin) and Italian ones (National Archive of Genova, National Archive of Venice, Municipal Museums of Venice, Correr Museum, Riccardiana Library of Florence, Mekhitarist Armenian Monastery Library of San Lazzaro, Braschi Palace Museum of Rome).

Mr Vartan Karapetian is the main consultant of the Exhibition while Comunicare Organizzando is in charge for the organization and set up of the exhibition.

The exhibition strives to present in a best illustrative way one of the most flourishing cultures of the ancient world. Armenia was the first country that in 301 A.D. adopted Christianity as its official state religion. It has a charming history traditionally rooted on the biblical narrative of the Great Flood, a symbol of rebirth and new life. The formation of the Armenian people goes back to the VII century B.C. which originated from the slopes of Mount Ararat, on top of which the Ark of Noah came to rest. Even today the Mount Ararat has a highly symbolic meaning for Armenia.

The incredible mixture of traditions, cultures and religions of Armenia laid a solid ground for the establishment of close relationships between Armenians and Italy. Armenia and Italy have twenty centuries of cultural influences and interactions: from the apricot – armellino in Venetian dialect – brought to Ancient Rome by Silla and known as prunus armeniaca- to the Armenian merchants of the Maritime Republics, from the ideals of Italian Renaissance having reached the distant Armenia to the thriving publishing endeavors of the Armenian cultural institutes in Italy.

The exhibition

The exhibition is divided into seven sections comprising rich archaeological findings, ancient manuscripts, works of art, illustrations and documentaries.

In the first section, the visitors will plunge into the pieces of the Armenian cultural peculiarity, where the Christian history and numerous biblical references constitute an inalienable part. The second section will describe the conversion of the Armenians to Christianity through a display of a constructed altar, with cowl flaps, incense burner and chapiters. The narrating through symbols will continue also in the third section which will be dedicated to the iconography of Cross (the Cross-stone from VI-VII century and the cross with the Saint George remains of 1746 among others). Original epigraphs and inscriptions will help to discover the important fourth section which will focus on the creation and codification of the Armenian alphabet by the monk Mesrop Mashtots. Multimedia presentation will allow the public to partake in the exploration of the Armenian language. The fifth section will be dedicated to arts and architecture: among eastern Christian cultures, the Armenian had always stood out for its remarkable originality and symbiotic capacity encompassing Byzantine, Islamic and Western influences. Among other works of art, the precious Mike Queen Gospel from 862 will be displayed at this exhibition.

This year marks the centenary of the Armenian genocide that in 1915 led to the deportation and annihilation of the Armenian population in the Ottoman Empire and which is commemorated on April 24th. The exhibition “Armenia. The people of the Ark” in its sixth section envisages video documentaries on the history of the massacres and tells about the Italian solidarity in sheltering the genocide survivors. The seventh section will be devoted to the Italian-Armenian relations and to the historical and cultural richness of the Armenian presence in our country, from the late Middle Ages when Italy was at the heart of important commercial routes between Europe and the East. Flourishing Armenian communities were formed and developed in Venice, Livorno, Genova, Rome, Bologna, Milan, Naples and Padua. A journey following the footsteps of monks, merchants, artists and writers will help visitor to discover the treasures of the Mekhitarist Monastery of San Lazzaro in Venice and treasures of Armenians preserved in Italy.

The catalogue published by Skira is made of two volumes: the first volume on the exhibition is edited by Mr. Vartan Karapetian and Mr. Paolo Lucca while the second volume on genocide is edited by Prof. Baykar Sivazliyan.

Vittoriano Complex

Ticket fee: free entrance

Opening hours: from Monday to Thursday from 9.30 am – 06.30 pm; Friday, Saturday, Sunday 9.30 am – 07.30 pm

Last entrance: 45 minutes before closing

Info: tel. 06/6780664,

Comunicare Organizzando Press Office                   Ms. Paola Polidoro

tel. 06/3225380, fax 06/3224014

mob. 328/4116985