Holy Virgin Of Pestani Cave Church
The cave church dedicated to the Holy Virgin is located twenty kilometers from Ohrid in the rocky scenery of the tourist camp Gradište, on the east coast of Lake Ohrid. In spite of the long term humidity which has influenced the color changes of the frescos they still remain to be the largest preserved ensemble in a cave church on the shore of Lake Ohrid.
In the interior some of the areas were flattened with mortar fillings so the surfaces could be prepared for painting. However in the upper registers of the cave the painters had to adapt and to paint on the uneven surface. The painting in the alter apse is destroyed, and only fragments from the Ascension of Christ in the top register of the conch can be seen.
In the nave the Deesis is painted, and next to it is the figure of St.Nicholas the miracle worker. Continuing in the same register are the holy warriors in noble garb adorned with pearls and geometric ornaments: Demetrius, Nestor, Artemius, Neketa, Theodor Tyro, Theodore Stratilates, Mena and Procopius. Above them are portrayed the holy healers Cosma and Damianos, followed by St.Clement of Ohrid, St. Anthonius, and St.Ephtimius. The Great Feasts begin with the Annunciation, and on the north side continue with compositions of the Nativity, the Presentation in the Temple, and the Baptism.
The scenes of the Raising of Lazarus and the Entry into Jerusalem are well preserved on the south side. In the west section of the temple are the compositions Crucifixion and the Myrophores at Christ’s tomb. At the west side, above the dado is the depiction of the Transfiguration of Christ, and on the north part of the west wall is the Dormition of the Holy Virgin.
Although the frescos are severely damaged the analysis have shown that this painting has a number of features which are close to the Ohrid painting work shop from the 1360’s.This is not only confirmed by the program concept of the whole ensemble and from the iconography of some of the scenes, but with the chosen repertoire of saints.
The work resembles the frescos of the first group of artist who worked in Marko’s monastery and according to the structure of the compositions they are close to the well known Ohrid painter Jovan Theorian from the 14th century, who was the head artist of the Grigoria’s gallery in the cathedral church of St.Sophia in Ohrid.
Cave Church Holy Virgin Of Pestani Gallery
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