Toros Roslin: life and works

Toros Roslin (Armenian: Թորոս Ռոսլին, Armenian pronunciation: [tʰɔɹɔs rɔslin]); c. 1210–1270) was the most prominent Armenian manuscript illuminator in the High Middle Ages. Roslin introduced a wider range of narrative in his iconography based upon his knowledge of western European art even if continuing the conventions expected by his predecessors. Roslin enriched Armenian manuscript painting by introducing supplementary artistic themes such as the Incredulity of Thomas and Passage of the Red Sea. In adjunct he revived the genre of royal portraits, the first Cilician royal portraits having been found in his manuscripts. His style is characterized by a delicacy of color, classical treatment of figures and their garments, an elegance of line, and an enlightened iconography.

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The human figures in his illustrations are rendered full of life, representing exchange emotional states. Roslin’s illustrations often fill the entire surface of the manuscript page and at times only parts of it, in further cases they are incorporated in the texts in agreement with the ensemble of the decoration.

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