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T'oros Roslin Gospels
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T'oros Roslin Gospels


Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description This manuscript was made in 1262 by Toros Roslin, the celebrated illuminator who extended the iconographic repertoire by defining a narrative Gospel cycle beyond the traditional portraits of the Evangelists. This signed manuscript was created at the scriptorium of Hromkla, which became the leading artistic center of Armenian Cilicia under the rule of Catholicos Constantine I (1221-1267). As an extensive colophon starting on fol. 406v explains, Toros created this manuscript under commission from the nephew of Constantine, a priest also named Toros. It is one of seven known manuscripts bearing Toros Roslins signature, and it is the most sumptuous of them all, with 15 miniatures and 67 smaller illustrations. The style of the images suggests that Toros had several assistants helping with the illustrations, though the overall quality remains extremely high. The manuscript was long cherished within the Armenian church. Even in the seventeenth century, its illumination served as a model for Armenian scribes, particularly Bargham and his son Mikayel; see Jerusalem, Armenian Patriarchate, no. 3438 and Washington DC, Freer Gallery, Ms. 36.15; in the latter manuscript, Mikayel explicitly refers to the excellent scribe Toros, surnamed Roslin.
Conservation
Date Description Narrative
9/20/1987Examinationexamined for loan
Exhibitions
  • Arts of the Middle Ages. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston. 1940.
  • Early Christian and Byzantine Art. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 1947.
  • The Life of Christ. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford. 1948.
  • The Taste of Maryland: Art Collecting in Maryland 1800-1934. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984.
  • Illuminated Manuscripts: Masterpieces in Miniature. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984-1985.
  • The Nativity in Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1987-1988.
  • Treasures in Heaven: Armenian Manuscript Illumination. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1988.
  • The Book and the Author: Portraits of the Evangelists in Eastern and Western Manuscripts. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1990-1991.
  • Treasures in Heaven: Armenian Illuminated Manuscripts. The Morgan Library & Museum, New York; The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1994.
  • Covered in Meaning: Book Bindings from The Walters. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1997-1998.
  • Treasures from the Ark: 1700 Years of Armenian Christian Art. British Library, London. 2001.
  • Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261-1557). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 2004.
  • Byzantium, 330-1453. Royal Academy of Arts, London. 2008.
  • The Christmas Story: Picturing the Birth of Christ in Medieval Manuscripts. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2009-2010.
  • Global Flows. Tufts University Art Gallery at the Aidekman Arts Center, Medford. 2012.
Provenance Priest T'oros, nephew of the catholicos Constantine I, Hromkla, Armenia, between 1262 and 1266; Hermitage of Ark'-akaghin, Cilicia, Armenia, 1266 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Ter Tiratur, Sebastia, Armenia 1604 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Church of the Holy Virgin, Sebastia, Armenia, between 1626 and 1881 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Church of the Holy Cross, Sebastia, Armenia, beween 1881 and 1915 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Dikran Kelekian, Paris [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, New York, 1929, by purchase; Sadie Jones [Mrs. Henry Walters], New York, 1931, by bequest; Walters Art Museum, 1935, by bequest.
Credit Bequest of Mrs. Henry Walters [formerly part of the Walters Collection], 1935

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Creators
Period
1262 (Medieval)
Medium
ink and pigments on well finished, medium weight parchment covered with brown stamped leather decorated with jeweled and nielloed metal-gilt plaques
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
W.539
Measurements
H: 11 3/4 x W: 9 1/16 x D: 4 3/8 in. (29.85 x 23.02 x 11.11 cm)
Geography
  • Hromklay in Gaziantep, Turkey (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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