Page 120 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
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 holding a small model of the church, offering it to Christ or the Mother of God, nor was he in a humble posture as were rulers in the Raška shrines of the 13th century, or in a procession of ancestors headed by their founder, Sime- on Nemanja. The King is represented to the local popu- lation and everyone coming to this open and busy town in full splendor, invested with power as the scion of the holy dynasty by Christ himself. Whatever could be learned from the Byzantine and Serbian sources—biographies, chronicles, charters and inscriptions—was vividly mani- fested by the new form of portrayal of the ruling family and by the intimation that the path to be trodden lay in the future of its younger members.
Portrayals of earlier historical personages were adapt- ed to the new spirit prevailing in the life of the royal court and the Church. even St. Sava—separated from the group of the heads of the Serbian Church and shown in the fam- ily circle—is adorned in sumptuous vestements and a rich- ly embroidered sakkos, not actually worn in his day. This modernization can be also seen in the garments of the saints who were far removed from the historical reality of Serbian or Byzantine society of the time. People from the early history of Christianity, such as Sts Constantine and Helena, sacred personages of imperial origin and oth- ers all wear costumes of the Byzantine emperor (Basile- us) and court dignitaries of the time when the frescos were painted rather than of the periods to which they be-
 The illustration of the first sticheron of the second canon by Saint John of Damascus dedicated to the Dormition of the Mother of God, detail, lunette in the exonarthex, Church of the Mother of God of Ljeviša, 1308–1314
saintly origin of the dynasty. emphasized by the inscrip- tion next to King Milutin (...the independent, of divine birth and the God-fearing Stefan Uroš, King of all the Ser- bian lands...), it was also illustrated on the opposite, west- ern wall of the narthex: the founder of the dynasty, St. Simeon Nemanja, with outstretched arms is pointing to the chosen descendants—on the south side stands St. Sava who ensured that the religion would have an autocepha- lous status, and to the north is his heir, King Stefan the First-Crowned, and possibly the future ruler, Milutin’s son Stefan Dečanski, dressed in attire also worn, modeled on Byzantium, by the highest dignitaries in Serbia. Below them on a fairly high socle and on the opposite wall as well there are two double-headed eagles, emblems of the family of Palaeologos, close kin to the Serbian king.
The space entered from the open porch was dedicat- ed entirely to the ruler, his ancestors and family members in a way that reflected profound changes in the life of the country, its political precepts and the ruler’s pretensions. He did not present himself as in the other endowments
The Last Judgement, detail: Personifications of the earth and the Sea, exonarthex, Church of the Mother of God of Ljeviša, 1308–1314

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