Page 100 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 100

Gojko Subotić
 decoration in Dečani, although the new frescos of the Peć narthex were of drier and more rigid forms, without the imaginative elements of the painted interior and the rich- ness of color. On the shield of St. Demetrius, still today, is the signature of “the most sinful andreja, the painter.” The most prominent painter who worked on these frescos, however, is one whose hand suggests the young Longin. This educated, versatile and gifted artist who in many monasteries left not only frescos but also icons, engaged in literature and on some occasions—as with the large icon of Stefan Dečanski in his endowment—wrote verses beside the scenes which illustrated his life. at the same time, the icons were equipped with excellent wood-carving whose masters, most probably, had a workshop right at the Patri- archate. Several works of that kind, though unsigned, can be attributed to Longin and anonymous masters who contin- ued to nurture their brilliant skills in the decades to follow.
all the frescos in St. Demetrius do not come down to us from the time of archbishop joanikije. During the res- toration of the northern Peć Church undertaken in 1619/20 following an earthquake, Patriarch Pajsije entrusted the most famous master of that time, the Hilandar monk Ge- orgije Mitrofanović, with fresco painting. in the course of the previous three years he had worked in Serbia, Monte- negro and Bosnia where he acquired significant experi- ence.
Like most artists of that time, Mitrofanović strictly fol- lowed the scenes of the earlier wall painting and endeav- ored to stay as close to it as possible in style and subject matter. He completely replaced several scenes but on a sig- nificant number of those which were not entirely destroyed he carefully restored individual parts. Nevertheless, his dis- tinctive use of color and sculptural modelling in the spirit of Cretan painting which dominated Mount athos shows a difference in comparison with the frescos of earlier mas-
Air (veil) of Hvosno,
painter Longin, the Treasury of the Patriarchate of Peć, 1594
ter jovan and his associates. Ordinary believers primarily interested in “listening to” stories and understanding the messages conveyed by the compositions probably did not notice. The gaze moved across the walls following the sense of the whole, lingering longer on less familiar scenes and rare details.
in the Holy apostles, Georgije Mitrofanović finished an unusual posthumous portrait of the Patriarch jovan ii (1592–1614) commissioned by his successor Pajsije. With his refined facial features, which the painter could not have known, the dignitary is addressing the Virgin with a prayer beautifully written on a wide scroll, saying that he is offer- ing a “small” gift. Separately, on a dark ground, is Pajsije himself, saying in a restrained manner with few words that the Patriarch’s grave was in Constantinople rather than in the church. Behind these words, however, is the dramatic story of the captivity and murder of this Serbian Church leader in the Constantinople jail of Yeni Tower because of negotiations he had conducted with the West, particularly with the Vatican and various italian courts. in those evil times, fully cognizant of the dangers he was facing but de- termined in his intention to overthrow Ottoman rule, Pa- triarch jovan kept dispatching envoys to distinguished fig- ures whom the Serbian people would recognize as ruler and crown in one of ancient centers, proposing them as liberators of his country. His sufferings, nevertheless, did not put a halt to spiritual life or artistic creativity at the Patriarchate of Peć. in its very center the new leader Pajsi- je, in the course of his long and more cautious rule, restored parts of the early paintings in the “mother of all Serbian Churches,” and enriched the treasuries and libraries of ma- ny monasteries with works of art and manuscripts.
The Sacred Land: Art of Kosovo,
The Monacelli Press 1997, pp. 28–36 and 198–219.

   98   99   100   101   102