Plomin – Brseč – Lovran


St. John

The mural paintings in St. John's Church were discovered during electrical wiring work, which was then followed by the restoration work. The paintings are the work of two masters. The more talented of the two painted the scene of the Baptism of Christ on a dark blue background on the northern wall. The landscape is suggested by schematized waves of the Jordan River in which Christ is standing. The water of the river reaches up to his knees; he is covering the genitals with his left hand while bestowing benediction with the other one. St. John the Baptist is to the left of Christ, while pouring water on the head of the Messiah. The illusion of space is suggested by different size of angels holding Christ's robes. Although the line which defines shapes and figures by outlining them is dominant, the volume is suggested by subtle color grading, which is best evidenced on Christ's body and angels' heads. Christ has the face of a young man, with soft downy beard and moustache, almond eyes, stylized nose and mouth, that together with Christ's hieratic stiff position are all elements belonging to the visual language of the Trecento.  But, the shaping of St. John the Baptist and angels located left and right from the center of the composition, presented in three-quarter profile, bears witness of the influence of the early 15th c. Bolognese painting. The other painter, who painted all the other wall surfaces, belongs to a completely different artistic perceptiveness; his rustic style associates him with the Alpine Gothic style. He shows an inclination towards a more linear style, which is best evidenced in the scene of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. The volumes are suggested by graphic means, lines. This is most evident in the garments of soldiers, especially their knitted, wire-shirts. The volumes of St. John the Baptist and King Herod's robes are obtained by a dark green line outlining them, but that is more a graphic technique than painterly one. The lack of skill is also manifested in the awkwardly suggested perspective. All the figures are of the same size although they are depicted standing on two different levels. The repeated use of stencil patterns which cover large areas contribute to the overall impression of flatness, graphism and decorative quality of this painting.

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