On St. Sava’s (svetosavski) redaction of Holy Monks images in Mileševa church narthex: Contribution to research in iconographic common places in the Nemanjićs’ church foundation
О светосавској редакцији ликова светих монаха у припрати милешевске цркве - прилог истраживању заједничких места у сликаним програмима црквених задужбина Немањић
AuthorsМилановић, Весна Д.
Article (Published version)
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This paper discusses the possibility of further completing the to-date analyses on the content and scope of the painting program in the Mileševa narthex, representing a striking two-band frieze of the images of holy monks. This new examination does not ignore the already recognized distinguishing marks, and pays special attention to investigating possible relationships and links with the solutions in some other monuments of the same era not having been previously researched in detail. The undertaking of the author was in this case determined by an attempt to look into and throw some light onto the hardly discernible, and to date unexplained, original content of a smaller, only fragmentarily saved, and indeed the most challenging segment of that numerous and complex gathering of the images of holy monks. That segment included several extremely damaged and rather faded images of holy monks in the lower zone of the narthex southern wall (the band of standing figures), and the figure in th...e southern end of the adjoining, west wall, in all probability, belonged to it as well. Furthermore, according to the faded traces of previous iconographic characteristics of these figures, it could be seen that they constituted a compact and specific group with regard to the nearest images or groups of images, related to them by belonging to the same, more general category of the holiness. Bearing in mind the damage to heads and faces, as well as the disappearance of the inscription with the names and texts on the scrolls in their hands, the only way to discovering, or at least to closer determining the identity of the images presented was by means of to date unused circumstantial data, which could be provided by more extensive iconographic materials from the other monuments of the time. This way was, up to a certain extent, already open by previous numerous notes of the researchers on the essential closeness of solutions in Mileševa with those of Studenica and Žiča, that is to say through a series of svetosavski redaction of their painting program. With the newly recorded analogies, and considered for the first time in this context, discovered by the author of this text in the painting programs of other representative foundations of the Nemanjićs’ from the 13th century, the circumstances are now present which will diminish, if not eliminate, the uncertainties related to the identity of the said monks, and also, to the extent possible today shed light on the problem spot in the Mileševa narthex program. It was concluded that the numerous, and doubtlessly interesting Mileševa series of holy monks did not exclude the significant group of famous monks - poets, who, among the chosen maximalists of Orthodox religion and personal ideals of St. Sava himself, could be ‘recognized’ not only in the churches whose painting program was certainly designed by the same person, but also in those being in the care of the ones respecting and continuing Sava’s work. Painted within a certain larger whole, constituted of individual figures of holy monks, they had a much stronger influence on the iconographic programs of the most important Serbian churches in 13th century than the one attributed to it by the recent ideas on the tradition of that epoch. The standard pattern was created in the old narthex of the archiepiscopal church in Žiča. The issue here is the new interpretation of the interesting and barely older solution from the Studenica southern vestibule choir loft. The painting program of both churches was under supervision of St. Sava himself; however, the mentioned Žiča example was painted over at the beginning of 14th century. Not deviating from the principal pattern applied in Žiča, the chosen holy poets in the Mileševa narthex could also represent some sort of counterpart to the figures of the most prominent hermits, founders and leading figures of desert monks with which they shared the zone. The new observations regarding the relations between Mileševa and monuments of the era, resulting from the relevant examination of the holy monks representations, offer, therefore, a possibility that once again, in this as yet unsatisfactorily investigated domain, the already existing theses on Svetosavski redaction of Mileševa painting program be supplemented, even strengthened, and also that yet another link in the already remarkable series of program details be reconstructed, clearly linking the spirit of the Mileševa frescoes with the one marking those of older Studenica, and those of chronologically closer, original Žiča. Such a reconstruction adds to our knowledge of the relevant Svetosavski patterns, having been transposed from the first foundations of the Nemanjićs to the walls of the foundations of the ktitors (patrons) to come, and future orders of painting programs, in this instance in Sopoćani and Gradac. Shaped in the first decades of early 13th century owing to St Sava himself, and practically already standardized during the existence and creative life of the first Serbian archiepiscope, the same patterns remained functional in Serbian environment throughout the period to come. They are recognizable in the churches whose walls were painted in the late 13th century, much later than Mileševa.
U radu se razmatra mogućnost upotpunjavanja dosadašnjih nalaza o celini koju u slikanom programu mileševske priprate čini dvopojasni niz likova svetih monaha. Ne previđaju se već uočene osobenosti njenog sadržaja i sklopa, a s naročitom pažnjom ispituju i eventualne srodnosti i povezanosti sa rešenjima u drugim spomenicima epohe. Složenom komparacijom mileševskih fresaka s građom koju sadrže ostali spomenici 13. veka prevazilazi se problem nedostatka neposrednih podataka za identifikaciju nekoliko veoma oštećenih figura iz donje od dveju zona s predstavama svetih monaha. Zahvaljujući novoutvrđenim analogijama, stiču se uslovi da se otklone ranije rezerve oko mogućnosti njihovog poistovećivanja sa ličnostima slavnih monaha-crkvenih penika. Zaključuje se da je grupisanje monaških predstava u donjoj zoni mileševske priprate bilo najbliže obrascu primenjenom u nekadašnjoj priprati crkve u Žiči. Nove opservacije o odnosu Mileševe i ostalih razmatranih spomenika pružaju priliku da se, u jedn...om dosad nedovoljno istraženom kontekstu dopune, pa i učvrste, postojeće teze o svetosavskoj redakciji mileševskog slikanog programa. Njima se istovremeno upotpunjuju i dosadašnja saznanja o ikonografskim i programskim obrascima koji su uobličavani i definisani prvih decenija 13. veka zaslugom Svetog Save, ostali u srpskoj sredini delotvorni i tokom dužeg narednog perioda.