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Svipi, Murals of the Church of St. George. First Layer

Building: Svipi, Church of St. George ("Jgrag")
Layer of the Murals: First Layer
Date/Period: Second half of 10th century
Donor(s): Unknown
Painter(s): Unknown
Building Gallery


of the Donor(s)
of the Painter(s)


Two layers of painting are preserved in the interior of Svipi church of St. George. The painting of the first layer dates to the second half of the 10th century – its fragments have survived in various parts of the interior. The second layer painting on a new plaster was executed in the 14th century.



The chancel painting is arranged in two registres. A three-figure composition of the Deesis is represented in the conch – presently, only parts of the open codex and the throne of the Savior can be observed, as well as badly damaged fragments of the interceding Mother of God and St. John the Baptist. The figure with white hair and beard contained in a rectangular framing on the southern section of the second registre is identified with St. Peter. A rather big fragment of a rectangular framing decorated by a pearl-like ornament has survived in the central part of the north section, while on the edge there is middle part of the apostle’s figure holding a closed codex. Extant paintings on the northern lintel of the chancel window and the stone altar are extremely fragmentary.



Paintings on the south wall articulated by a projected pilaster are distributed in two registres; the murals executed on the slope of the vault are bordered from each other by a pilaster, while the painting of the second registre is accommodated in the wall arches.

Lower bodies of a pair of figures can be discerned on the eastern section of the vault. The right figure out of the pair standing on the western section of the vault is represented slightly turned to the left, the left one – frontally, which is indicated by the garment descending from the knees. Frontal figures of two saints are depicted in the south-west arch of the second registre. The right one is holding a chalice-like object, and the left, probably, had a cross in the hand (the image is almost completely obliterated).

Painting is also distributed on two registres on the the north wall articulated by a projected pilaster; paintings executed on the slope of the vault are separated by the pilaster itself, while the images of the second registre are contained in the wall arches.

Eastern arch of the north wall exposes a clear image of an equestrian beardless warrior facing left. He is identified with St. George considering the curly hair and the spear. Insignificant fragments of the initial layer of the painting have been preserved on the western section of the same wall as well.

Fragments of the lower parts of clothing of frontal figures of saints can be observed on the lower, southern section of the west wall.


Tatiana Shevjakova, “Pirveli p’enis mokhatuloba sop’el svip’is eklesiashi (zemo svanet’i)” [“First Layer Murals in the Church of Svip’i Village (Upper Svanet’i)”], Sak’art’velos metsnierebat’a akademiis moambe [Bulletin of the Georgian Academy of Sciences] XXIV, №6 (1960): 769–74.

Tat’jana Shevjakova, Monumental’naja zhivopis’ rannego srednevekov’ja Gruzii [The Monumental Painting of the Early Medieval Georgia] (Tbilisi, 1983), 22–3.

Natela Aladashvili, Gajane Alibegashvili, Aneli Volskaja, Zhivopisnaja shkola Svaneti [The Painting School of Svaneti] (Tbilisi, 1983), 17–9.

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), 93–4.

Marine Q’enia, “Mkhatvrobis saert’o sistemis gadats’q’vetis t’aviseburebani adreuli khanis Svanet’is mokhatulobebshi” [“Pecularities of the General Arrangement of the Decoration System in Early Medieval Murals in Svaneti”], Sak’art’velos Sidzveleni [Georgian Antiquities] 12 (2008): 138–40.

Marine Q’enia, “Svanet’is mokhatulobat’a ap’sidaluri sk’emebi (IX–XIII saukuneebi)” [“Apsidal Schemes of Svaneti Murals (9th-early 13th c.)”], Sak’art’velos Sidzveleni [Georgian Antiquities] 21 (2019): 67.