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Beatrice Spampinato

Beatrice Spampinato
Ca’ Foscari University of Venice
Carved Stones on the City Walls of Ani: An Attempt to Read the Armenian Capital in the Anatolian Visual Context

The Armenian Bagratid dynasty founded the medieval city of Ani (modern-day Turkey) in the tenth century. Over the next three centuries, Ani passed into the hands of Byzantine, Seljuk, and Georgian rulers. Written historical and epigraphic sources help us reconstruct the image of this city at the crossroads of cultures along the famed Silk Road, and the decorations on the wall surfaces of Ani public monuments serve as a fundamental source for reconstructing the complex historical coexistence of cultures in the region.

On the one hand, Armenologists increasingly feel the need to expand their research beyond the history of Armenian art and architecture by considering relations with neighboring visual cultures. On the other hand, as recent literature suggests, the time has come to study late medieval Anatolian societies by looking beyond political boundaries and considering the multiple geographies of the region.

Focusing on the decorative program of Ani’s northern city walls, Spampinato’s project seeks to demonstrate the urgency of re-reading this city in an Anatolian and no longer an exclusively Armenian, Georgian, or Turkish-historical and artistic framework.