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 The lowest zone of frescos contains the figures of saints, mainly of the great martyrs in the northern, and the monks in the southern part, while by the entrance the portraits of St. Zosimas and Mary of egypt remind one of the story of a great sinner who, halted by an invisible force at the door of the jerusalem church converted into a Christian and finished her life by expiation in the desert.
Contrary to the strict order for arranging saints on the walls of the lowest zone, the donors’ composition is freely developed in the southwestern part of the nave. Here the prophet Daniel commends the archbishop with a sweep- ing gesture. He has stepped freely into the space toward the Mother of God with her Child on a sumptuous throne, turning his head toward the donor with whom he holds the model of the building. Danilo, bowed a little, wearing the robes of a monk but wrapped in a bishop’s gown cov- ered with ornaments and cries-crossed with “the rivers,” is following him humbly, addressing himself to the Mother of God in a prayer by the gesture of his left hand. The beard with its occasional gray hairs discloses Danilo ii’s age, but his solid features still show evidence of vigor and indicate that the portrait was not made in his last years. He does not look like a person whose life was filled with many hard- ships under the reigns of three kings—Milutin, Stefan De- čanski and Stefan Dušan. Prior to becoming the head of the archbishopric, he demonstrated his capabilities as the hegoumenos of the Serbian monastery on Mount athos whose monastic community and treasury he successfully protected from Catalonian mercenaries. He was the bish- op of Banjska in times of unrest, a versatile diplomat in negotiations abroad and mediator in internal conflicts. in addition, he also was a writer and connoisseur of construc- tion techniques, on whom the rulers themselves relied when commissioning their pious endowments. The portrait of this many-faceted, gifted person holds a dignified place on the wide surface of the western wall, in a composition which, in terms of unrestricted movements and their rhythm, is one of the most beautiful works of old Serbian painting.
in keeping with his predecessors, and nourishing their cult, Danilo expressed special respect for archbishop ar- senije. it was not by chance that he devoted the prothesis of the Hodegetria’s church to this eminent prelate, the heir to St. Sava. The space stood next-door to the Church of the Holy apostles whose famous frescos were linked with ar- senije’s name and where, under a sarcophagus, his body rested, separated from the prothesis only by a wall. This provided a chance to represent the life of this archbishop on the walls of the parekklesion. Like the other sanctified figures from local history, arsenije has his Service and Life abundant with data about him, but the frescos were re- stricted only to his ordination as deacon, priest and arch- bishop, as well as to his death with representation of the last prayer over his body in the presence of the king, the nobility and the clergy.
Mother of God Nourisher of the Poor,
Church of the Mother of God Hodegetria, northwest bay, vault, the Patriarchate of Peć, ca. 1335
in the southern part of the church, in the diaconicon, is illustration of the life of St. john the Forerunner. Several years later, after his death (the end of 1337), Danilo was de- picted once more, this time by his grave, wearing archbish- op’s dress decorated with a big cross. as in the narthex above the entrance, St. Nicholas, the bishop who was his model and protector, is next to him.
The Church of Saint Demetrius: Painting
and finally, only the church of St. Demetrius remained un- decorated. The care of its painting was entrusted to Dani- lo’s heir to the spiritual throne, joanikije, the king’s former chancellor (from 1338 the archbishop, and from 1346 to 1354 the Patriarch). in this simpler space, most likely at the wish of the educated donor and religious dignitary who enjoyed the personal confidence of the ruler, the painter displayed some theological and ecclesiastical-political ideas.
in the dome, as in the Holy apostles, the ascension is presented with the apostles among the windows. The prophets, thus, are placed on the arches, at the height of the evangelists on the pendentives and the Great Feasts on the vaults.
Like other Peć churches, Saint Demetrius was a mau- soleum for ecclesiastical leaders; its donor, the archbishop Nikodim, was buried here. His sarcophagus with sculpted decoration is in the northwestern corner. This might have been the reason for painting the scenes of Christ’s Burial and the Two Marys at the sepulcher in that part of the
Patriarchate of Peć

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