Gareja, Tsamebuli Monastery, Murals of the Small Chapel
|Building:||Gareja, Tsamebuli Monastery, Small Chapel|
|Layer of the Murals:||One Layer|
of the Donor(s)
of the Painter(s)
Only the conch of the chancel apse was decorated with paintings in a small single-nave church on the eastern massif of Tsamebuli monastery; presently, the church is filled with earth up to the haunch of the conch.
The Deesis is depicted as a conch composition. The center of the composition features the Savior seated on a throne with a back and a pedestal, set with gems (the explanatory inscription cannot be read any more). His right hand is raised to the chest in blessing, and an open codex with an asomtavruli inscription (John 8:12) is propped on His knee with His left hand.
Christ is flanked by the Virgin (on the left) and St. John the Forerunner (on the right) in supplication. A seraph is inserted between the three figures.
The Virgin (Ⴃ(Ⴄ)Ⴃ(Ⴀ)Ⴢ | Ⴖ(ႫႰႧႨႱႠ)Ⴢ – Mother of God) has an unrolled scroll in her hand. The scroll features an asomtavruli inscription whose beginning and end are missing: ([-] ႹႤႫႭ | ႱႭႴ|ႪႨႱႠ|ႧႳჃႨႱ | ႢႤႥႤ|[-] – [-] I pray to you for the world. It is a dialogic epigram known by the name the Virgin’s ‘prayer of thanksgiving’ and is the earliest example of application of this text in medieval Georgia.
St. John the Baptist (Ⴜ(ႫႨႣႠ)Ⴢ ჂႭ|ႥႠႬႤႬ|ႠႧႪႨႱ|ႫႺႤႫႤႪႨ :. – Saint John the Baptist) is holding an unrolled scroll with a fifteen-line asomtavruli inscription (Mathew 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4); the middle part of the text is missing.
A figure of a living creature is depicted between the figures of the Savior, the Virgin and St. John the Forerunner; on the left – a seraph (the inscription is lost); on the right –a cherub (Ⴕ|Ⴄ|Ⴐ|Ⴀ|ႡႨ|ႬႨ – Cherub).
The conch composition is framed by ornamental bands with patterns of floral motifs.
Georgij Chubinashvili, Peshchernye monastyri David-Garedzhi [Cave Monasteries of David Gareji] (Tbilisi, 1948), 46–7.
Givi Gap’rindashvili, “1089 ts’lis ts’arts’era mits’idzvris shesakheb garejis ts’amebulis udabnos ‘kharitonis k’uabidan’” [“1089 Earthquake Inscription from the “Khariton Cave” in the Tsamebuli Monastery of Gareja”], Sak’art’velos metsnierebat’a akademiis mats’ne: istoriis, ark’eologiis, etnograf’iisa da khelovnebis istoriis seria [Proceedings of the Georgian Academy of Sciences: Series of History, Archeology, Ethnography, and Art History] 2 (1976): 177–86.
Aneli Vol’skaja, “Rannie rospisi Garedzhi” [“Early Paintings of Gareja”], IV Mezhdunarodnij simpozium po gruzinskomu iskusstvu [IV International Symposium on Georgian Art] (Tbilisi, 1983), 5.
Aneli Vol’skaja, “Rospisi peshchernjkh monastyrej David Garedzhi” [“Murals of the David Gareji Cave Monasteries”], in Konstantine P’itskhelauri ed., Gareji [Kakhet’is ark’qeologiuri ek’speditsiis shromebi: VIII [Kakheti Archeological Expedition Studies: VIII] (Tbilisi, 1988), 138–9.
“Garejis mravalmt’is monastrebi. Dasavlet’i masivis gamok’vabuli monastrebis ark’itek’turis, kedlis mkhatvrobisa da epigrp’ikis sruli p’oto da grap’ikuli p’ik’sats’ia” [“Monasteries of the Gareja Desert. Photo and Graphic Survey of the Western Massive Cave Monasteries”], in Nikoloz Vacheishvili ed., Erovnuli kulturuli memkvidreobis programa – 1997 [National Cultural Heritage Programme – 1997] (Tbilisi, 1997), 40–1, pl. 46–7, xxxvi–xxxvii (with annotations).
Aneli Vol’skaja, Dimitri T’umanishvili, Marine Bulia, T’eimuraz Jojua, Davitgarejis monastrebi: Nat’lismtsemeli, Bert’ubani (Tbilisi, 2011), 64–5.