The depictions of warrior saints in frescoes of 1380 at the Church of the Holy Saviour in Kovaliovo: Whether Balkan masters painted the Novgorod church?
By Svetlana Dmitrieva
Zograf, Vol.33 (2009)
Abstract: This article examines the theme of warrior saints in the Kovaliovo fresco cycle, based on the archival photographs and frescoes assembled by the conservators. The analysis of the selection of warrior saints (including the seated figure of St. Demetrios), the arrangement of their figures in the overall iconographic programme, the separate iconographic characteristics of the frescoes and — finally — the style of painting, confirms that the Kovaliovo master-painters were not local nor were they Russian, but it obliges us to reject the theory that the Kovaliovo frescoes resemble the art of the Morava school in Serbia. It is feasible that the Kovaliovo painters came from one of the Balkan centers closely linked to Thessaloniki and, within the tradition of Novgorodian monumental painting, the best Kovaliovo frescoes seem to bear the legacy of their great predecessor, Theophanes the Greek.