Portrait of Mark in a Gospel According to the Four Evangelists

Artist: Yohanes
Historical period(s)
Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on parchment
H x W (overall): 24.4 x 17.9 cm (9 5/8 x 7 1/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


Armenia, Christianity, Gospels, Saint Mark, The Apostles, WWII-era provenance
Provenance research underway.

This eighteenth-century Armenian leather binding that encloses a mid-thirteenth-century Gospel is decorated with silver studs, now tarnished, in the form of a cross in the upper center.  A pair of small silver plaques in the shape of the "evil eye" are set on either side.  The crystal, with its cruciform grooves in the center, is particularly notable;  it may have held a relic at one time, underscoring the power and importance attached to Gospel books in Armenian culture.

Published References
  • Eva Baer. Sphinxes and Harpies in Medieval Islamic Art: An Iconographical Study. Oriental Notes and Studies, no. 9 Jerusalem. pl.34, fig. 6.
  • Souvenir Program Booklet: 45th Annual Convention, Washington, D.C. Washington. pp. 9, 28-9,31-2.
  • Sirarpie Der Nersessian. Armenian Manuscripts in the Freer Gallery of Art. Oriental Studies Series, no. 6 Washington, 1963. pp. 18-25, pls. 17-27.
  • Diane Cabelli, Thomas F. Mathews. The Palette of Chatchatur of Khizan. no. 40. pp. 37-40.
  • Helen Carney Evans. Manuscript Illumination at the Armenian Patriarchate in Hromka and the West. Ann Arbor. pp. 52-3,78-88.
  • Laura Schnieder. Freer Canteen. vol. 9 Washington and Ann Arbor. pp. 137-156, pl. 5, fig. 14.
  • Archaeological Chemistry III. Advances in Chemistry Series, no. 205 Washington, 1984. pp. 243-254.
  • Medieval Armenian Culture. University of Pennsylvania Armenian Texts and Studies, no. 6 Chico, CA. pp. 284, 273, fig. 6.
  • Avedis Krikor Sajian. Catalogue of Medieval Armenian Manuscripts in the United States. University of California Publications, Near Eastern Studies; vol. 16 Berkeley. pp. 717-728.
Collection Area(s)
Biblical Manuscripts
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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