Bičići – Barban – Prodol


St. Martin

The only trace of the one-time Benedictine monastery is St. Martin's Church in Bičići with remains of frescoes. The mural paintings inside the church date from 1319, which is testified by the badly damaged painted inscription on the northern wall mentioning Martin Bobosius, i.e. Boboš, from the Survey of Istrian Land Boundaries (Istarski razvod), known as the district-prefect of Barban who commissioned it.

The mural paintings decorate the sanctuary and part of the southern wall. The depicted scene is a new Gothic-type of Crucifixion where both feet were fastened by only one nail. The manner of executing shapes is still Romanesque, volumes of faces and bodies are executed in parallel green and red lines. Only the lower parts of saints remain on a flower background left of the Crucifixion. Their clothing and footwear are archaic for their time, they follow early medieval models. In the squinches of the apses are angels with scrolls containing Latin inscriptions: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth; heaven and earth are full of ...

The ornamentation is also Romanesque, with interwoven ornaments of palmette and astragal. The same velarium, preserved in fragments, appears in the Church of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist in Brovinj near Koromačno. Although this is not a large find, it proves the existence of a local workshop in Istria at the beginning of the 14th c.

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