Skopje

St. Pantelejmon Monastery

  Gorno Nerezi     09 Apr 2019
Perched 771m above Skopje in the small settlement of Gorno Nerezi, the monastery complex of St Pantelejmon would be otherwise unremarkable if it wasn’t for the small church that sits on the site. Built way back in 1164, this unprepossessing, classic Byzantine building hides a series of original frescos that totally changed the course of Western art and that played an extensive role in kick-starting the Renaissance a couple of centuries later. Famous for breaking the rules of what was up until then a very strict style of religious painting, the frescos depict the usual Orthodox themes including the Lamentation of Christ, the Dormition of the Mother of God and others, but what sets them apart from everything that went before them is that the artists have breathed life into the figures. Before Pantelejmon, it was never allowed to show emotion in painting, making such pictures as the extraordinary fresco of Mary holding a dead Jesus in her arms, complete with an anguished face and tears in her eyes, utterly extraordinary.

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