Fresco-painting, Icons and Carvings in Macedonia

Fresco-painting, Icons and Carvings in Macedonia

The Macedonian medieval artistic treasury is a subject of numerous research works performed by the Macedonian and world historians of art. The scientific research works present that the Macedonian fresco-painting, iconopainting and carving with their representative specimen are considered to be supreme world achievements. No anthology of icons could be conceived without works created in Macedonia. The connoissance of the Macedonian fresco-painting is a condition for comprehension of the general development of the Byzantine mural painting.

The beginnings of the mural painting were connected with the appearance of the monumental Christian architecture. After four century long pause, monuments and works of supreme artistic values appeared in the 11th century. These are: the church "St. Sofia" in Ohrid with the best preserved fresco-composition in the whole Byzantium from the 11th century, "St. Panteleymon" at Nerezi - Skopje, "St.George" at Kurbinovo and "St. Leontie" at Vodocha - the monuments that signify the period of the Komnen dinasty.

The development of the Macedonian art is the most evident in the turbulent 13th century and the beginning of the 14th century during the activities of the well-known fresco-decorators (zografs) Michael and Eutuchius - inaugurators of new fresco-decorative canons. Their supreme artistic achievements were realized on the walls of the churches "St. Bogorodica Perivleptos" in Ohrid ("St. Clement" nowadays), "St. Nicolas" in Skopska Crna Gora and "St. George" in Staro Nagorichane. The fresco-decorations and the icons of Jovan and Makarie, created by the end of the 14th century, as well as the painting in the "Monastery of Mark" near Skopje, inframe the immense opus in the medieval painting.

The Macedonian medieval frescoes and icons are characterized with monumental figures and composition, animated drawings, rich and refine colors.

The creation of fresco-decoration in the Macedonian churches continued in the following centuries. Those decorations were of minor value. Some artistic paintings done by contemporary painters are based on the rich and abundant Byzantine tradition.

Among the numerous connoisseurs of the medieval art in Macedonia are: Dimche Kotso, Tsvetan Grozdanov, Konstantin Petrov, Kosta Balabanov, Petar Miljkovich etc.

After Petar Delyan was proclaimed a czar, as a successor of the Samoil’s tradition, he received his relative Alussianus (a miniature of the Chronicle of Skilitsa-Kedrin).

“Annunciation”, the litany icon from the 14th century, a famous piece of art of the Ohrid fresco-painting school of Michael and Eutychios.(The Gallery of Icons - Ohrid)

“St. Matthew” - the famous icon of the Ohrid painting school painted by the fresco painters Michael and Eutychios, 1295 - 1317.(“St. Clement” church - The Gallery of Icons in Ohrid nowadays)

The monastery “St. Panteleymon” in the village of Nerezi near Skopje, erected in 1164, a memorial of Alexey Angel, the duke of Skopje, from the Byzantine dynasty of the Komnens. The fresco-painting is one of the greatest achievements of the Macedonian medieval painting art from the second half of the 12th century.

The Bitola Triodion, the second half of the 12th century, a transcript of a Glagolitic original, Macedonian language redaction, on parchment. It is found near Bitola (the Library of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Sofia, No. 38). This manuscript is significant for the historical dialectology of the Macedonian language as it reflects the colloquial language of Western Macedonia.

The fragment from the prominent fresco-composition “The Descent from the Cross” in “St. Panteleymon” church in Nerezi (near Skopje)

The Dobreysho Fourfold Gospel, the beginning of the 13th century, a Macedonian language redaction, an oblique capital script with semi-capital elements and profuse illumination, on parchment. It reflects the language of South-Western Macedonia. (the National Library “Cyril and Methodius” - Sofia, No. 307; The National Library - Belgrade, No. 214)

The Floral Triodion, a Church Slavic Manuscript, a Macedonian language redaction, the end of the 13th - the beginning of the 14th century, non-calligraphic Cyrillic capitals on parchment. It originates from the Prespa District.(The Archives of Macedonia - Skopje,No.1)

The imperial doorway - a portal in wood-carving on the iconostasis in “St. Naum” church, 1711

The Kratovo Fourfold Gospel, a manuscript of the prominent Kratovo Literary School in Macedonia, the second half of the 14th century, written with calligraphic capitals.(The National and University Library “St. Clement of Ohrid”, manuscript 20)

The Macedonian Prominent Gospel of Yovan the priest, the end of the 12th - the beginning of the 13th century, capital Cyrillic script on parchment, with orthography typical for the Macedonian Old Church Slavic manuscripts from this period.(The Archives of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts - Zagreb III, 1)

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