Against Gravity

Armen Kazaryan

Full Paper
Architectural Ideas and Metamorphoses of Technique in the Ani School of Armenian Architecture of the Bagratid Era
The influence of the architectural ideas onto the building technique is rare discussible in medieval studies.
The flourishing of the architecture of Armenian capital of Ani of the last quarter of the 10th and the first half of the 11th century was accompanied mainly by revision of the stylistic features and by the evolution of the well-known plans. All innovations of the tradition were aimed at creating the impression of the overcoming of gravitational pull and at the illusory weightlessness of building constructions. The vertical supports and arches, the blind arcades, and the socles, partially borrowed from the arsenal of classical antiquity, have acquired the new qualities. The masonry blocks began to resemble facing tiles, reaching human height and acquiring vertical proportions.

Report analyzes the peculiarities of architecture and building technique of the Cathedral and Surb Prkich of Ani, Surb Sargis of Khtskonk, zhamatun of the Horomos Monastery, etc. Several features of the building technique of Ani masters were described by scholars. Unlike their interpretations, it seems that creation of such features took place in historical moment of the flourishing of the capital, and reflected new understanding of the image of church and new conception of the heavenly church.