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Gojko Subotić
appeared on the façades of the Morava style churches— mainly in the same places. as a matter of fact it was sup- posed that the painted ornamentation on the outsides of the Peć churches date from a later period, taking its place in a new form of expression. Careful examination, how- ever, has proven that the painted ornamentation preceded the stonework, i.e. that the new style of sculptural art from the last decades of the 14th and the first half of the 15th cen- tury had already been developing among local builders in another medium: it did not appear out of the blue, com- pletely formed.
archbishop Danilo’s large, open narthex was of excep- tional beauty; a chronicler from the early 15th century in- cluded it in his selection of the most valuable works of an- cient Serbian art. it has reached us, however, in a signifi- cantly altered appearance following damage and the sub- sequent reconstruction undertaken by Patriarch Makarije around 1560. The original view of the narthex is shown on the painted model in the hands of archbishop Danilo. Pre- cious data are also supplied by his biographer praising his work. after deciding to build “a bright narthex,” he says that first “in his mind he measured everything... what its height should be, what length, what width, so that it leans on” and is “in unision” with the churches of the Holy apos- tles, Saint Demetrius and the Mother of God.
The spacious narthex was open and bright indeed. Three piers in the middle and one on the northern and southern ends divide the interior into two aisles, each with six bays. The upper sections were almost completely rebuilt after the restoration of the Patriarchate of Peć, but the standing remnants prove that, like today, the supporting pillars were connected by arches and the fields between them vaulted; on the eastern side they rested on pilasters added to the churches, and on the western side on corresponding piers of the façade. all the bays, of the same size, had groin vaults capable of carrying chambers on the upper floor.
The light construction of the edifice became apparent in the appearance of the façade. Colonnettes with aper- tures terminating in arch-form openings are approximate- ly of the same width as the supports in the interior. Their rhythm and outer elegance were particularly stressed by slender octagonal pillars with narrower, somewhat recessed, arches. These reduced the span between the piers and con- tributed to the static value of the whole. Such a structure was too fragile to withstand the test of time. Today only the features of its lower part can be well observed. Fortunately these lower original forms have been preserved, though the upper ones were quite interesting. Both information the Life of Archbishop Danilo, and the model he is holding as donor testify to that.
The southern front had two broad arches leaning on the marble pillar in the middle, beyond which was a deep and spacious interior. above the aperture a gable corre- sponding to the height of the upper floor was pierced by a two-light window illuminating the space probably stretch-
ing across the vestibule. according to the words of Danilo’s biographer and disciple there was a katechoumena here, but we know too little about the various forms of cham- bers—even comparing this one with those in other cathe- dral churches—to assume its appearance and guess its function.
The statement of Danilo’s biographer that he (Danilo) “built a high pyrgos in front of the church” and a chapel in it devoted to his namesake St. Daniel, is particularly inter- esting. a belfry is depicted in this place on the donor’s mod- el; not very tall, with an open upper section in which the bells are visible. The bells were depicted with special atten- tion; it was stressed in Danilo’s biography that he had spent much gold in order to have “bells with a pleasant sound” made in the Coastal area, which he brought here and in- stalled with great effort.
The painted decorations of the Peć narthex deeply im- pressed the medieval observer: there were frescos not only on its vaults and walls visible from the outside, but also on the outer sides of the piers, and the upper, broader surfac- es, as there were on the churches behind them, covered with painted ornaments on a red ground.
in this form, with its elaborate spaces dedicated to var- ious rituals, the Peć churches could respond to the require- ments of the complex rites of a large spiritual center whose needs Danilo knew best and, experienced as he was in build- ing, was able to meet thoroughly. The memory of his great merits was simply expressed by the addition to his name of the epithet Pećki (of Peć), just as the memory of the great donor from the ranks of rulers Stefan (Stephen) Uroš iii has been preserved by calling him Dečanski (of Dečani).
Simultaneously with his care of the great royal church- es, first of all of Dečani which was built under his supervi- sion, and then of other places of worship he erected, the archbishop Danilo made an effort to furnish the interior of the Peć church with frescos and to provide the objects necessary for divine service. The wall decoration of the church took a course different from the builders’ works: although the narthex with the belfry and the parekklesion on the upper floor were put up last, frescos were first painted there around 1330 rather than in the churches add- ed on the south side. That is indicated, first of all, by the appearance of Danilo ii above the entrance to the church of the Mother of God, where he is significantly younger than on the donor’s composition in its interior. This is a fact to be trusted. The portraits carefully transferred fea- tures of represented persons and recorded changes brought about by the passage of time. it is sufficient to consider the twenty-odd surviving portraits of King Milutin from his young days till the closing years of his life among which the last portraits registered his decline of strength and the ap- proaching end. The reason for the aforementioned se- quence of decoration in Peć could be explained by the wish of the spiritual dignitary to arrange the access to the main sanctuary first, the Church of the Holy apostles which,

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