Voronet monastery

Voronet monastery is situated near the town Suceava, in the northern part of Romania. It was founded by Moldavian ruler Stefan the Great in the second half of the 18th century and was finished in 3 months and 3 weeks, a record at the time.


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Enclosed by fortification walls, the Voronet monastery is small in size and built after a Byzantine three-leaf clover plan, with pre-nave, crypt, nave, two round lateral absydiums and a larger round altar absydium, a simple spire and round, wide-eaved roof. It is one of the few Moldavian monuments which kept its initial shape.

The walls feature painted buttresses, pertaining to the gothic style, decorative round arch niches and small windows, as well as one pointed arch window, with gothic tracery, above the entrance. Typical moldavian structural and decoratie elements add to these. The nave is covered by a Moldavian canopy. To the half of the 16th century, the addition of a closed veranda, called exonarthex, was commissioned by the metropolitan. The west wall of this addition has no perforations, serving solely as a canvas for the rich mural painting which extends covers the whole monument in intense, powerful shade of blue considered as unique and called "Voronet blue".

The southern wall illustrated the Joshua Tree and portraits of Antiquity's philosophers.

The western facade paintings depict the Advent and the scale of virtues, the northern wall illustrated the Genesis.

The interior painting of Voronet monastery creates a solemn and monumental ensemble, through themes such as The Last Supper, The Apostles' Eucharist, the washing of the feet, the Passions of Christ, as well as the votive picture of Stefan the Great. Floral motifs fill the blank spaces and serve as partitions or frames of the biblical scenes. Intense blue dominates the scenes, followed by the gold of saints' halos. The frescoes illustrate the progression from the stern, sober byzantine painting to a vivid and naive style of painting. The artists' originality has brought depictions of Moldavian musical instruments, local scenery, folk clothing into the biblical scenes.



Voronet monastery

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