St. Mary's Church

Beram, Croatia

The Church of St. Mary on Škriljinah is a Gothic church with a portico, a bell gable and a wooden tabulate added. In the church interior there is the Dance of Death scene, one of the most well-known series of frescoes and, along with the Arena in Pula and Euphrasian Basilica, the most recognizable cultural monument of Istria.

Frescoes were finished in 1474 by the workshop of Master Vincent from Kastav, of which there is a Latin inscription depicted on the south wall. Although Vincent was the main painter in the Church of St. Mary on Škriljanah, Beram frescoes were the work of several artists. He was helped by two other painters, of whom one is the author of the famous Dance of Death, and the other painted the image of St. Martin the horseman, who cuts a piece of his luxurious cloak giving it to a freezing, bare and poor passer-by in order to wrap himself in it.

The impressive Adoration of the Magi, the scene filling the entire upper part of the north wall, is the most valuable work by Vincent. The first scene the visitor sees upon his/her entrance is an unusual representation of a fool. When the eye becomes accustomed to the unlit interior after a few moments, the figures of saints pop out in the field framed by a wine of acathus leaves as in a puppet theatre. Scenes from the life of Mary and Christ are intertwined with the scenes of saints. The Dance of Death is most attractive for visitors on the west wall. One of the oldest preserved representations of this theme, the teaching representation of death in those times which treats us all equally and from which no one can escape, was painted after the epidemics of bubonic plaque.

Along with the dancing dead, the pope, the cardinal and the bishop, the king and the queen, a fat innkeeper, a child, a beggar and a soldier whose robust armour cannot help, and finally a trader who is not successful in bribing death with gold ducats move toward the open grave in a silent procession. The dancing skeletons move along the rhythm set by the death itself by playing the bagpipes.

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Address

Unnamed Road, Beram, Croatia
See all sites in Beram

Details

Founded: 15th century
Category: Religious sites in Croatia

More Information

www.istria-culture.com

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Viorel Iosub (14 months ago)
The cemetery church of St. Mary of the Rocks is situated 1km to the north-east from Beram, within itself holds one of the most valuable acomplishments of Istrian medieval painting. Well preserved late-gothic frescos almost entirely cover the inner walls of the church, and they were made by master Vincent of Kastav. The strongest impression leaves the fresco called „Dance of the Dead“ where in front of our eyes kings, merchants, cardinals, even the Pope himself dance hand in hand with death.
Edo Caric (16 months ago)
Trebalo bi uložit na uređenje crkve s obzirom na značaj freski
Sandor Slacki (16 months ago)
The most wonderful dead dance murals in Istria. A must see!
Toni Krasnic (4 years ago)
Home of "Dance of Death" fresco - the most famous fresco in Istria.
Andrej Planina (4 years ago)
Very rich interoir frescos. Church is on remote place. You need to get the guide in the village which will open the doors of the church.
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