Draguć – Paz – Gradinje – Gologorica


St. Mary at the Pond

Gologorica lies in the Cerovlje municipality, along the road that connects the center of the municipality with the towns of Paz, Gradinje, Belaj, Boljun and Vranja. There was a road from Gologorica, leading to Krbune and further to Šumber and Labin. The village was inhabited in Antiquity, which is testified by some ten preserved monuments from the nearby area. Gologorica was then situated in the ager publicus, located east of the Pula, Poreč and Trieste ager. This was the area where the western borderline of the early medieval Croatian kingdom spread. Although a number of feudal lords of German origin followed each other as owners throughout the entire Middle Ages, Gologorica is one of the Istrian villages that by its Slavic toponym, registered in the earliest medieval documents, testifies to the early Slavic colonization of this part of Istria. The old Slavic service and the Glagolitic script were in use there, which is proven by many preserved Glagolitic monuments. The oldest one referring to Gologorica is the well known Survey of Istrian Land Boundaries (Istarski razvod), and one of the scribes who wrote it was priest Mikula from Gologorica.

The best known medieval monument in Gologorica is the Church of St. Mary at the Pond. Before the waterway was built, the ponds were economically and crucially important in the dry Istrian area, testified by numerous Istrian statutes with provisions about their maintenance and cleaning. These ponds are often present also as toponyms, such as St. Mary’s. In terms of typology, it belongs to the group of churches with inscribed apses. However, this apse was removed in the course of subsequent transformations giving way to a wooden Baroque altar from the mid-17th c. The mural painting on the northern wall depicting the Adoration of the Magi is thought to be the oldest representation of this theme in Istria. However, the Adoration from Butoniga is approximately from the same period, and the oldest one is the one from the Church of St. Eliseus in Draguć.

In his monograph on Istrian frescoes, Branko Fučić gives a special place to mural paintings from St. Mary’s, dating them to the transition from the 14th into the 15th cc. The dating has been confirmed by the recently discovered Glagolitic graffito with the signature of priest Anton from Rijeka together with the year 1416. Among the many graffiti, there is an interesting Latin one from 1482 with the signature of Agatha muliera, which speaks of the literacy of women in the Pazin County.

The artist who painted St. Mary’s adhered to the model that had a mixture of the Late Gothic fashion from the European courts with oriental motifs, such as camels ridden by a procession. Although the entire composition is shown in two-dimensional flatness with a hardly indicated perspective, the faces of the saints are modeled in terms of color. The dominant shades in the palette are pastel shades of rose colored complexion and landscape, as well as yellow and red ochres and pastel bluish-green colors, while the black pigment is discernible in the details. The main contours are made on the drawings by red ochre. In terms of style, the painting belongs to the trend influenced by the art of Furlania with elements of the work by Vitale da Bologna. However, these influences are present on a wider area of Austrian and Slovene countries and could have come to Istria indirectly as well.

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