Šorići – Dvigrad – Kanfanar


St. Agatha

The church cannot be dated with certainty. In terms of typology it is related to the Pre-Romanesque building tradition, but it could have been built even later, in the second half of the 11th c., suggested by the frescoes discovered on the first layer of plaster. By their forms, compositional and technical features they are dated to the second half of the 11th c.

In the lower register of the center of the apse is an image of the Virgin Mary in the Orans position flanked by five Apostles on each side. The number of Apostles suggests that the two missing in the composition should be found in the conch of the apse. Christ is represented as a young beardless man holding an unusual inscription in capitals: REX IUDEORUM. On the triumphal arch the customary scene of the Annunciation is replaced by the scene of Cain and Abel's Offering. St. Agatha and St. Lucy are depicted in the fields under the triumphal arch. Geometrical bordures repeat the ornamental repertoire characteristic of Carolingian painting.

The division of the wall surface behind the Apostles and the use of bordures highlight the horizontals. The scenes are basically ornamental. The Apostles are depicted in simple, hieratic postures, the static quality of the composition being underlined by the color alternations of their garments. It is somewhat interrupted only by the scene of Christ with his hands wide open in the conch of the apse, as well as Apostles presenting gifts. Such composition emphasizes the central scene of this iconographic program. By using a limited palette, the painter achieves interesting colorist accords. Faces and hands are shaped by the complementary contrast of green and red. All the colors were painted onto a layer of fresh, wet plaster (a fresco) except for the white pigment. The white color was used for lumeggiature and inscriptions above the Apostles. In the course of time the color fell off from the wall, so that it is merely visible today. The eyes of the Apostles have been scratched off, which is not an act of vandalism but the belief of ignorant people that they would cure eye disease with the scratched off powder. However, we truly hope that it did not end up in their eyes, but instead they drank it up. This church was famous for something else. Nursing mothers whose milk had dried up would make a pilgrimage to St. Agatha's Church, since among all the barbarities St. Agatha was subjected, was the cutting off of her breasts.

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