The Deësis and the Annunciation

13th century
Church of St. Elias, Draguć, Croatia

In the apse Christ sits enthroned on a pillow as in earlier images of enthroned figures, flanked by Mary and John the Baptist. John gestures in supplication, as usual in such images, but Mary has some sort of cloth over her proffered hands.

The apse is framed by an Annunciation with the angel Gabriel on the left and the Virgin Mary on the right. The details of the two frames appear to derive from the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, chapter 9, picturing the moment when Mary has stepped outside the Temple to get water from a fountain and the angel comes to say, "Blessed art thou, Mary." To represent this moment, the fresco has Gabriel's hand raised in benediction and puts Mary in an outdoor setting with what seems to be a tall pitcher in her left hand. The actual moment of Incarnation, which in medieval Annunciations is expressed as a dove arriving on a ray of light, is not pictured, nor does the angel carry a sceptre: In Pseudo-Matthew the Incarnation itself occurs inside the Temple on the day after the incident at the fountain.

Over the entrance to the church is its name, ISEI, a shortening of the Croatian Elizej. This is the prophet known as "Elisha" in the KJV and "Elias" in the Vulgate and Douay-Rheims.

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Photographed at the church by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.