Two Unidentified Scenes from the Open Gallery of the Catholicon at the Rila Monastery Cover Image
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Две неидентифицирани сцени от външната галерия на католикона в Рилския манастир
Two Unidentified Scenes from the Open Gallery of the Catholicon at the Rila Monastery

Author(s): Alexander Kuyumdjiev
Subject(s): Cultural history
Published by: Институт за изследване на изкуствата, Българска академия на науките

Summary/Abstract: The eastern front of the open gallery of the catholicon of Rila was painted in 1843-1844 by Dimiter Christov and his son Zaphir (Stanislav Dospevski). Among the murals there are two compo- sitions, which have not been identified and introduced into scientific use for the time being. The first one features the labourers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16). It is in the second blind dome (a low windowless dome) to the south, in the western part of the narthex next to the pendentives. Traditionally, the parable is represented as a narration illustrating the biblical text. The iconographic solution to the composition of Rila, however, follows almost entirely the description given in the Hermeneia by Dionysius of Fourna. It is radically different from the narrative version and consists of several episodes, presenting symbolically the eschatologi- cal nature of the parable. It is the only version of such an illustration of the parable known to me. The second composition, Descent of the Virgin into Hell, based on the apocryphal work The Mother’s of God Purgatory was painted on the wall of the narthex to the right of the central entrance to the church. The scene is signed and divided into two parts. In the upper part Virgin Mary is depicted with a halo with psalmists John of Damascus and Cosmas of Maiuma by her side; as a lower part a piece of the frieze is used with tortured sinners, which encompasses the entire facade. Such a representation of a subject in two separate parts is not, of course, an original approach, invented by Dimiter Zograph. But the fact that this composition has not yet been identified shows that in this case its two parts could be linked together only by association, given that the theme is familiar as the tortures of sinners are in their rightful place and chime in with the rest of the paintings on the eastern front wall.

  • Issue Year: 2012
  • Issue No: 4
  • Page Range: 28-32
  • Page Count: 5
  • Language: Bulgarian