The stylistic analysis of the wall painting of Betania monastery sheds light on the place of these frescoes in Byzantine art of the 12th century. As for the Georgian paintings of the epoch, there are some monuments of the ﬁrst third of the 12th century (frescoes of St. George in Bochorma (after 1104) and several churches of Svanetia, mosaics and frescoes of Gelati Monastery (1130s)). The following ﬁfty years present a kind of historical gap in art, after which the ﬁrst dated monument is the Church of the Dormition of Vardzia monastery (1180s). The study of the frescoes on the south and north walls of the nave of the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin in Betania allows us to conclude that their style was developing in the course of the classical trends of Byzantine painting of 12th century. The present article examines the frescoes of Betania among the monuments of the Middle Byzantine era as the wall paintings of the Mirozh monastery in Pskov (1130s–1140s), the Church of the Transﬁguration of St. Euphrosynia monastery in Polotsk (circa 1161), the Palatine Chapel in Palermo, Sicily (1142–1150), the Cathedral-Basilica of Cefalù (1148), the Martorana or Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio (1146–1156) etc. During the 12th century Georgia like the Balkan, Russia, Southern Italy and Cyprus was gradually becoming an independent artistic center detached from the metropolis nevertheless responding to the stylistic changes in the art of Byzantine world. There was forming a regional version of the style, in Georgia that adopted and modiﬁ ed the artistic language of the metropolis. Taking into consideration the similar phenomenon in diﬀerent countries the frescoes study of Betania makes possible to date the monument in the interval between the 1150s and 1160s.
Betania, Orbeli, George III, Komnenian art, frescoes, style, Ateni Sioni Church, Mirozh monastery, Polotsk.
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