Iprari, Murals of Church of the Archangels. First Layer
|Building:||Iprari, Church of Holy Archangels (“Taringzel”)|
|Layer of the Murals:||First Layer|
|Painter(s):||King’s painter Tevdore|
of the Donor(s)
asomtavruli inscription made up of two lines is represented on the entablement of the chancel screen:
Ⴕ. ႱႠႾ(Ⴄ)ႪႨႧႠ Ⴖ(ႫႰ)ႧႨႱႠჂႧႠ ႫႭႨႾႠႲႠ ႣႠ ႸႤႨႫႩႭ ႼႫႨႣႠჂ ႤႱႤ ႤႩႪႤႱႨ[ႠჂ] […] ႠႫႨႱ ჄႤႥႨႱႠ: Ⴗ(ႭႥႤ)ႧႠ [-] Ⴃ(Ⴈ)ႣႧႠ ႣႠ ႫႺ(Ⴈ)Ⴐ(Ⴄ)ႧႠ: ႸႥ(Ⴈ)ႪႧႠ ႣႠ ႫႭႫႠႥ(Ⴀ)ႪႧႠ ႫႠႧႧႠ ႣႠ Ⴑ(Ⴓ)Ⴊ(Ⴈ)ႱႠ Ⴋ(Ⴈ)ႺႥ(Ⴀ)Ⴊ(Ⴄ)Ⴁ(Ⴓ)ႪႧႠ Ⴋ(Ⴀ)ႧႨႱႠ ႼႫ(Ⴈ)Ⴃ(Ⴀ)ႬႭ ႫႧ(Ⴀ)Ⴅ(Ⴀ)ႰႠႬႢ(Ⴄ)Ⴊ(Ⴍ)ႦႬႭ Ⴘ(ႤႨႼႷႠႪ)ႤႬ ႭႰႨႧႠႥႤ ႺႾႭႰႤႡႨႧႠ Ⴀ(ႫႤ)Ⴌ | ႫႭ[ႨႾႠႲႠ Ⴃ(Ⴀ)Ⴑ(Ⴀ)Ⴁ(Ⴀ)]Ⴋ(Ⴈ)ႧႢ(Ⴀ)ႬႧႠ ႼႤႪႧႠ ႾჄ ႵႰ(Ⴍ)ႬႨႩ(Ⴍ)ႬႱႠ ႲႨႥ ჄႤႪႨႧႠ Ⴇ(ႤႥႣႭႰ)Ⴄ ႫႤႴႨႱႠ ႫႾ(Ⴀ)ႲႥႰ(Ⴈ)ႱႠႨႧႠ Ⴜ(ႫႨႣႠ)ႬႭ ႫႧ(Ⴀ)Ⴅ(Ⴀ)Ⴐ[ႠႬ]Ⴂ(Ⴄ)Ⴊ(Ⴍ)ႦႬႭ Ⴘ(ႤႨႼႷႠႪ)ႤႧ – In the name of God, this holy church was painted and decorated in supplication of this valley, for all great and small, the children and descendants of them, and the souls of their deceased. Holy Archangels take pity on both their lives, Amen. Painted in the year 6700 after the creation of the world, in koronikon 316, by hand of Tevdore, the king’s painter. Holy Archangels have mercy (Svanet’is ts’erilobit’i dzeglebi (X–XVIII ss.), II, epigrap’ikuli dzeglebi, tek’stebi gamosatsemad moamzada, gamokvlevebi da sametsniero-satsnobaro aparati daurt’o valeri silogavam [Svaneti Literary Monuments (10th–XVIIIth cc.), II, Epigraphical Monuments, rdited by Valeri Silogava] (Tbilisi, 1988), 70-1).
of the Painter(s)
The same inscription.
Murals cover the wall, vault and chancel screen completely. They are distributed in two registres both in the chancel and the hall.
A short variety of the scene of the Deesis – half-length figures of the Savior flanked by the Virgin and St. John the Baptist in supplication – is represented in the conch. Christ has an open codex which has preserved only a fragment of once existing inscription ([…]Ⴂ […]ႨႤႪ – Gabriel) in the left hand.
In the second registre, there are two figures of saints on each side of the window; probably, the saint represented full-length south of the window is an apostle (the image is hardly discernible); next to him is a half-length figure of a bishop (only a codex is visible); the saint depicted north of the window is probably an apostle too; next to him is a half-length figure of St. Basil the Great (Ⴜ(ႫႨႣႠ)Ⴢ – Saint). On the edges of the apse, on both sides, candles lit in candelabra are depicted.
Traces of painting are also discernible on the altar.
Half-length frontal figures of four saints are depicted between the arches of the three-span chancel screen: south of the holy door – St. Kvirike (Ⴜ(ႫႨႣႠ)Ⴢ | Ⴉ(ႥႨႰႨႩ)Ⴄ – Saint Cyricus) and St. Ivlita (Ⴜ(ႫႨႣႠ)Ⴢ | ႨႥႪႨႲႠ – Saint Julitta) are depicted holding a cross; north – St. Stephan (Ⴜ(ႫႨႣႠ)Ⴢ | ႱႲႤႴ(Ⴀ)ႬႤ – Saint Stephan) holding an incense burner and a reliquarium, next to him – St. Demetre (Ⴜ(ႫႨႣႠ)Ⴢ | ႣႤႫႤႲႰႤ – Saint Demetre) is also depicted with a cross. There are candles in the corners (similar to those in the chancel). A donor inscription which also mentions the painter of the church – ‘King’s Painter’ Tevdore – runs along the whole length of the chancel entablement.
In the upper registreof the west wall the Annunciation (ႾႠ[Ⴐ]ႤႡႠჂ – Annunciation) is distributed on both sides; near the figure of St. Archangel Gabriel (Ⴂ(Ⴀ)Ⴁ(ႰႨႤႪ) – Gabriel), in the lower row full-length frontal figures of holy mothers holding crosses: the one depicted south of the entrance with a headscarf and a mantilla wrapped around the neck is St. Barbara (Ⴜ(ႫႨႣႠ)Ⴢ | ႡႠႰႡႠႰႠ – Saint Barbara), on the north is St. Catherine (Ⴜ(ႫႨႣႠ)Ⴢ | ႤႩႩႠႲႤႰႨႬႤ – Saint Catherine) wearing a crown.
In the first registre of the south wall, on the eastern section of the vault, there is a full-length, frontal figure of an archangel holding a sphere and a labarum; the western section of the vault depicts the composition of the Nativity (Ⴁ(Ⴄ)ႧႪ(Ⴄ)ႫႨ, Ⴕ(ႰႨႱႲႤ), Ⴓ(ႴႠႪႨ) – Bethlehem, Christ, God). In the eastern section of the lower registre the Virgin with Child (Ⴃ(Ⴄ)ႣႠჂ | Ⴖ(ႫႰ)Ⴇ(Ⴈ)ႱႠჂ – Mother of God) is depicted with her mother St. Anna (Ⴜ(ႫႨႣႠ)Ⴢ ႠႬႠ | Ⴃ(Ⴄ)ႣႠჂ Ⴜ(ႫႨ)Ⴃ(Ⴈ)ႱႠ || Ⴖ(ႫႰ)Ⴇ(Ⴈ)ႱႫႸ(Ⴍ)ႡႤႪ(ႨႱႠ)ႠჂ – Saint Anne, Mother of the Holy Virgin. Both are full-length frontal figures. A rider slaying a dragon – St. Theodore – is depicted on the western section of the wall (Ⴜ(ႫႨႣႠ)Ⴢ | Ⴇ(ႤႥႣႭႰ)Ⴄ – Saint Theodore.
A figure of an archangel and a scene of a great feast is depicted on the vault of the north wall in the same order; a full-length figure of the archangel is represented frontally holding the same insignia (labarum, sphere). Next to it is the Baptism. The scene of the Apparition of Archangel Michael to Joshua is depicted in the eastern part of the second registre. It shows a full-length frontal figure of the Archangel clad in military clothes and holding a drawn sword, and Righteous Joshua kneeling at his feet (ႫႧ(Ⴀ)Ⴅ(Ⴀ)ႰႠႬႢ(Ⴄ)Ⴊ(Ⴍ)ႦႨ Ⴋ(Ⴈ)Ⴕ(Ⴄ)Ⴊ ႢႠႫႭႳႹႬႣႠ ႨႱႳ ႬႠႥႤႱႠ Ⴠ(Ⴍ)ႫႱႠ Ⴘ(Ⴈ)ႬႠ Ⴐ(Ⴀ)Ⴏ(Ⴀ)ႫႱ ႫႭႱႰႬႠ Ⴜ(Ⴀ)ႰႫ(Ⴀ)ႰႧႬႨ – Archangel Michael revealed himself to Joshua in the war and massacred the pagans. Mounted St. George (Ⴜ(ႫႨႣႠ)Ⴢ | Ⴂ(ႨႭႰႢ)Ⴈ – Saint George. slaying a dragon is depicted in the western section of the wall.
Shalva Amiranashvili, Istorija gruzinskoj srednevekovoj monumental’noj zhivopisi [History of Medieval Georgian Monumental Painting] I (Tbilisi, 1957), 134–8.
Natela Aladashvili, Gajane Alibegashvili, Aneli Volskaja, Zhivopisnaja shkola Svaneti [The Painting School of Svaneti] (Tbilisi, 1983), 8–31.
Natela Aladashvili, Gajane Alibegashvili, Aneli Volskaja, Rospisi khudozhnika Tevdore v Verkhnej Svaneti [Murals of the Painter T’evdore in the Upper Svanet’i] (Tbilisi, 1966), 8–31.
René Shmerling, Malye formy v arkhitekture srednevekovoj Gruzii [Minor Forms in the Architecture of Medieval Georgia] (Tbilisi, 1962), 246.
Rusudan Q’enia, Nat’ela Aladashvili, Zemo Svanet’i (shua saukuneebis khelovneba). Gzamkvlevi [Medieval Art of Upper Svaneti: A Guidebook] [Sak’art’velos megzuri [Guide of Georgia]: 2] (Tbilisi, 2000), 44–6.
Marine Q’enia, “Sitq’visa da gamosakhulebis mimart’ebis sakitkhisat’vis k’art’ul mokhatulobebshi” [“To the Interrelation of the Word and Image in the Georgian Mural Painting”], sak’art’velos sidzveleni [Georgian Antiquities] 4–5 (2003): 147–63.