Bale – Batvači – Fažana – Pomer


SS. Cosmas and Damian

The Parish Church of SS. Cosmas and Damian is an elongated Gothic edifice ending in a polygonal sanctuary. The stone inventory (portal and lunette on the facade and custodia in the sanctuary) testifies to its Gothic origin, as well as the remains of mural paintings. Pre-Romanesque spolia which mention Bishop Firmin and is walled into the facade suggests that there was previously an older church at this site. Today, there are only six churches in Istria dedicated to SS. Cosmas and Damian, the one in Fažana being a parish church and one of the oldest among them.

The southern nave, by the Gothic window, depicts fragments of a narrative scene with figures of soldiers and parts of architectural scenery. Above it is a rich complex bordure with consoles shown in perspective that are plastically formed by shading and slanted in the direction of the sanctuary, suggesting that prior to the Baroque reconstruction of roofing the church was lower. The figure represented from the waist up in armor, swinging a mace is visible. Fragments of the second figure depict only a weapon resembling a halberd. It most likely depicts a saint's martyrdom. With its ornamental repertoire this fresco, too, suggests its continental origin.

The sacristy holds a mural painting depicting the Crucifixion. On the left and right sides are standing figures of SS. Cosmas and Damian and below the crucifix the kneeling figures of St. Mary Magdalene on the left and the donator on the right side. Almost the entire picture frame formed from a simple two-strand pattern remains. The painting was badly damaged in the course of time, only the figures of St. Mary Magdalene and St. Damian are relatively well preserved. The latter shows morphological features of shaping that will help us in attributing this work. The garments are characteristic of the 16th c., when the fresco was executed. St. Damian is wearing tight-fitting trousers, with a short tunic reaching above his knees with a narrow and buttoned collar, a cloak and wide-brimmed hat. The bodies of these figures are strong, muscular, with well-proportioned arms and legs that are revealed due to the tight-fitting clothing. The physiognomy of saints is stylized, typified, whereas the face of the donator reveals portrait characteristics. The dominant colors are cold blue and green, and orange-red colors, which together with purple form a characteristic scale of colors, typical palette of Master Dominic who executed murals at other locations in Istria as well. It bears the greatest similarity with the scene of the Holy Sunday on the northern wall of the church in Bačva, which displays all the mentioned features. This attribution is especially interesting because in Višnjan Master Dominic signed as a Vodnjan resident (Dignano). It was suspected that "Dignano" referred to Dignano in Furlania. However, because of the large production of this workshop in Istria, we are inclined to believe that Dominic was a resident of the Istrian town Vodnjan.

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