And here the roof, in the form of pediment with two sloping surfaces, is missing.
These two types of the portals were the principle variations in the IV-VII centuries and greatly predetermined the later styles for designing the portals.
IX-XI centuries occupy a particular place in the history of the development of Armenian art. If IV-VII centuries are considered as classical era, when art was closely connected with heathen religion and with the firm traditions of Armenian Hellenism, then IX-XI centuries became an unprecedented era of Renaissance generally in art and specially in the development of architecture. During this period the monumental construction was carried out with great speed using the elements of architecture of the previous era. However, the revival of these ancient forms in this period didn’t copy directly the previous constructional device, forms and decorative details.
Already in the second half of the IX and in the first half of the X centuries one can certify absolutely a new content of architecture corresponding to the spirit of the era. Thus, against the background of the direct use of traditions, it is strikingly expressed the tendency of creating the new; both in the composition of all the construction and as well as in its design. This tendency is strikingly expressed in designing the portals.
According to the character of composition and design the framing of the portals of X-XI centuries can be classified into two principle types; the first of them represents itself as a developed version of VI-VII century portals, where the frame consisted of a bundle of 3/4 columns connected with arched roofing situated on the both sides of the portal. However, in the new treatment the portal contains series of elements which didn’t appear on the monument of ancient period. Particularly the profiling of the pylons is complicated; in one case it is achieved by developing the earlier compositions (The Ambert Church Portal), where the bundle consisted of six columns (in the early portals their number didn’t exceed to more than three - Odzun, Kosh) and in the other, the pylons are worked out of alterated flush bead moulding, fillets and half columns. This version completely differs from the previous types.
Along with the traditional portal in which it is notable the development of pure national manners of design, at the end of the X century new types of portals are applied and their compositional-decorative mounting is connected with the Armenian-HelIenistic culture.
The analysis of the development of architectural design proves that the rebirth of the antique forms and details are specially brightly expressed in designing the portals. Together with this, in spite of the predominance of the national motif in designing the portals, striking success has been achieved in creating new versions. Anyhow the portal with architrave ceiling didn’t find a wide use; on the contrary, the local tradition triumphed without stopping its development. As a result of this, after the XI century architrave portals didn’t appear any more in the Armenian monumental architecture.
The end of XI and the beginning of XII centuries signify a new stage in the development of Armenian monumental architecture. The wide-scale development of feudal cities with their handicraft population, the expansion of trade and the reinforcement of economic basis of the church, which had been turned into a big feudal unification, raised a problem before the architects and builders to work out new architectural subjects according to the progress of tenor of life of the feudal society and its vital demands.
Despite of the variety of solutions, the subjects of worship construction was canonized. And this task wasn’t so difficult for those architects and masters who had a rich creative heritage of the past.
The civil, secular monumental architecture was a novelty from the point of new demands.
The new types of buildings, together with the functional demands, raised some problems which were specific to the content of each of them, and with their designing manners could fully express their meaning.
The important peculiarity of civil architecture of that period was the tendency of opposing to the worship asceticism by means of more richly decorating the buildings, trying to reflect the living nature on the stone. At the same time that tendency had its opposite reaction on the worship architecture. As before, the portal remains as the principle detail for designing the facade, both for worship and civil buildings. In the monumental civil architecture there appeared new types of portals with rich decorations.
Despite of the rich tradition, it is notable that architects and masters didn’t go after the mechanical transfer of forms and details of worship building portals which had been applied for the first time in civil building later on were widely applied in worship buildings.
The rudiments of new type of portals were already noticed in X-XI century portals with their architrave roofing. At the same time this composition is the result of the vaulted portals. Considerable part of XII century portals don’t have yet right-angled framing platband.
Portals with right-angled framing platband differ from the previous versions (IV-XIV centuries); here the passage from the flatness of the wall to the door lintel is realized by means of profiled projections, without coming out of the flatness of the wall. In this version the framing of the platband of the portal seems to be fit in the thickness of the wall. This kind of solution reminds the portals with architrave roofing. The only difference here is that for profiling the new types, mostly local elements are applied.
Parallel with these new widely used portals one could rarely notice the repetition of previous portals with double half-columns. However, as compared with the previous types, here the double-column socle has a slight projection from the flatness of the wall.
It’s necessary to have into consideration that the division of the portals into two groups doesn’t fully define the diversity of forms which exists in each version. In the portals and their designs there isn’t any single example of direct repetition, consequently, in each of them one may notice only one specific solution, distinctive to its own features.
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