Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Byzantine wall paintings

This being Christmas Day for the Orthodox I thought I would share some pictures of Orthodox wall paintings which were recently posted on the Medieval Religion discussion group. They are in the small church of St George at Kurbinovo in what is now styled the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and date from 1191. There is an online introduction to the church here.

The paintings at Kurbinovo are classified among the works of the "Dynamic Style" of the second half of the twelfth century and are perhaps the latest of the surviving exemplars (which surely included many lost ones, extending throughout the Empire, including Constantinople).

The church itself is small, and outwardly unimpressive, but the paintings inside are on the grand scale - an indication of what one should expect to have existed across eastern and western Christendom at the time.

There are pictures here and here. A detail from the Dormition scene with "dynamic" drapery pattern(s) is here and the expressive style can be seen in the heads of the Apostles. There is a figure of a standing Christ and the Virgin of the Nativity, and St John the Baptist and also this wonderful, cadaverous head of Lazarus.

There are other paintings from the church here and here and this is the Angel from the Baptism scene. There is what appears to be a painting showing St Anne and the Virgin, and there is a detail of it here.

Adapted from a post by Christopher Crockett on the Medieval Religion discussion group in December 2011.

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