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 Gojko Subotić
Deisis, Church of the Holy apostles, conch of the apse, the Patriarchate of Peć, ca. 1260
Both evince an exciting rhythm in which the elements of the richly narrated stories are arrayed.
Certain figures of the apostles, especially the younger ones, evoke reminiscences of the Hellenistic legacy, so dis- cernible in the radiance and gentle sensuality of the figures that could not have been seen in the works of an older, se- verer spirit. it was as if the artisans glanced back to the ear- lier works and directly copied their delineations, their plas- ticity and color harmonies. This was not a new phenome- non: Byzantine art always relied on classical models, some- times in waves felt powerfully during specific epochs, cre- ating unique paraphrases leading to a distinct style. Broad- ly speaking, the Peć artwork was not isolated in this sense but it came at the outset of a period in Serbia that reached its fullest expression in the more recent Sopoćani church.
it is not easy to fathom the environment in which the Peć artisans were trained nor the traditions they followed. it must assuredly have been a matter of the involvement of some larger centers where a broad artistic culture could be
attained and where there were monuments and collections of old manuscripts that preserved the traditional artistic accomplishments and transmitted them to subsequent generations.
During the ensuing decade, the archbishopric’s Meto- chion in Peć enjoyed a calmer existence than the Žiča cen- ter which was threatened a number of times and which fi- nally suffered from hostile incursions from the north. This was why the remains of archbishop joanikije (1279–1286) were transferred to the Holy apostles. at the same time, valuable objects which were a temptation to attackers were also removed for safe-keeping. it was recorded that the governor of Vidin, ivan Šišman, descended to “The Gorge” itself (1291–1292) with the intention of seizing the trea- sures of the Church of the Savior. it was under this name that historical sources referred to the Church of the Sav- ior’s ascension in Žiča. But the same appellation was later also given to the Peć church together with the role it had acquired in the last decade of the 13th century. For after the

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