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Gojko Subotić
 The Mother of God Paraklesis, detail: Christ Child, Church of the Holy apostles, north pilaster, the Patriarchate of Peć, before 1350
in a niche of the walled window on the western wall, quot- ed from his namesake St. joanikius: O most holy Mother of God, do receive the prayer of your slave Archbishop Joani- kije. The frescos, apparently, had come into being prior to his elevation to the rank of patriarch. The large figure of young king Uroš, born in 1337, helps to date the fresco: it can be assumed with a high degree of probability that the last building in Peć was painted in 1345. in the smallest in the complex, the church of St. Nicholas, only the fragments of paintings have been preserved which do not allow any judgment of their character and the date of their origin.
Compared with scenes in the Mother of God Hodeget- ria which were painted, in colorful landscape, by anony- mous artists of unequal skill, the frescos of Saint Demetri- us stylistically represent a much more homogeneous enti- ty. One of the painters, most likely the leading among them, left in the altar apse—in accordance with the notion
that a master is nothing more than a mediator between Providence and a work of art—a humble note of his work: Theou doron ek heiros Ioannou (Divine gift from the hand of john). The apostles’ Communion, the painting on which the painter—no doubt a Greek—left his name, makes it possible to identify his “handwriting” and recognize it on other representations. it is therefore obvious that when dividing the surfaces prepared for painting, master jovan gave the left side of the composition to his associate. He himself executed most of the frescos on the southern wall and some of them on the northern side, and the scenes of the church councils on the groin-vault of the western bay. Differences in the manner of work are noticeable in the specific drawing and composition, in the sculptural quali- ties and relations of the colors used. Master jovan, strongly modulating in bright and dark tones, created robust, male figures with elongated heads and bodies which can easily be distinguished from the other, more finely proportioned, even gracious, figures in the lowest zone. Neither of them, however, made an effort to interpret the space in a more complex and vivid way: the scene always has two grounds all participants are in the foreground, and the painted ar- chitecture and landscape in the other. Without diagonal elements which would define its depth and create a com- plex sense of space, the action proceeds steadily under mas- ter jovan’s brush with an emphasized tranquillity created by a vertical order of figures, high rocks and painted scen- ery. Contrary to this, the landscape is covered with vari- ous plants the exuberance of which gives serenity to the representations.
The comparison of the representations on the northern wall with contemporary frescos in Dečani leaves little doubt that the painters of this great shrine, near Peć, took part in the decoration of Saint Demetrius. it may well be that arch- bishop joanikije, perhaps anticipating changes in political and church organization, undertook to complete the inte- rior of the churches, by which his throne stood, for new divine services.
Restoration of the Holy apostles
Of more modest architecture than the great shrines of Banjska and Dečani in which secular rulers were buried, the churches of the heads of church in Peć repeatedly raised buildings, adapted and modified them but did not provide conditions for the lasting survival of their frescos. each reconstruction, settling of the site or roof damage left traces on the wall paintings; repairs of its individual parts were inevitable.
The presence of many painters in nearby Dečani during the entire decade provided an opportunity to replace or add frescos to the nave of the Holy apostles, on the pilas- ters and the arch between them by which the vault was divided into two zones. These works, most likely, were in- spired by the elevation of the Serbian Church to the rank of Patriarchate, and carried out in the early spring of 1346. at

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