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Classical elements in the Serbian painting of the fourteenth century

Classical elements in the Serbian painting of the fourteenth century

By Mirjana Gligorijević-Maksimović

Zbornik radova Vizantoloskog instituta, Issue 44 (2007)

Abstract: In the early 14th century influences of a new style emanating from Constantinople contained reminiscences of classical ideas and forms (contents of compositions, the painted landscape, the human figures, genre scenes based on everyday life, classical figures, personifications and allegorical figures). Towards the end of the century classical influences in painting began to wane.

Introduction: The early 14th century marked a turning-point in the art of medieval Serbia. It was the time when influences of a new style emanating from Constantinople — the so-called Palaeologan Renaissance — began to reach the country. This renewed wave of reminiscences of classical ideas and forms, had an impact on the paintings in the Serbian churches which was felt until the end of the fourteenth century.

These classical influences were reflected in both the form and the content of the frescoe compositions. They were most apparent in the conception of space, in the proportioning and organization of the compositions. So, many Christian themes and medieval subjects were expressed in classical forms. Especially in the large- -scale compositions, involving many figures, the spatial depth is achieved by the sequencing of receding plans, while the represented buildings assume forms suggestive of those of classical architecture. Elaborate architectural structures with porticoes, domes, columns with ornamented capitals, sculptures, reliefs and draperies were often painted.

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