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Descent into Hades (Resurrection of Christ), east wall of the naos, Gračanica, 1318–1321
The frescos in Gračanica are the culmination of the artistic tendencies that evolved in the leading painting workshops at the time of King Milutin. The wall painting of Gračanica impresses one by the sheer volume of its themes and by its artistic qualities. Several painters that worked on it had a difficult task to adapt a dozen of extensive themes to the complex internal architecture of the church. Such themes include the cycle of the Great Feasts, the cycle of the Passion of Christ, the cycle of events after the Resurrection and the cycle of Christ’s public ministry, the scenes from the life of the Virgin, a series of symbols of the Virgin, scenes from the Life of St. Nicholas, the Menologion, the Last judgment and many portraits, among which the portraits of the members of Nemanjić family. The highly cultured artists painted from life. The best among them, a representative of the climax of the artistic evolution at the time of Milutin, achieved an ease of expression that none of his contemporaries could match. What had previously been only a suggestion of the new style achieved its perfect form in Gračanica. The innovative character of the Gračanica painting style extended beyond the first decade of the fourteenth century.
The paintings of two masters, Michael and eutychios, these already established artists, first appeared towards the end of the 13th century in the Church of the Mother of God Peribleptos in Ohrid (1295), painted in transitional style. about a decade later, the two artists began to work for the Serbian king. By that time, they were under the strong influence of the Constantinople style of the Palaeologan Renaissance and created some of their best works in this style. The two artists are exceptionally experienced painters in the layout of the painted themes and in the artistry of paintings.—B. Todić.
The art of Gračanica

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