Study on Painting Technique of Mediaeval Mural Painting: Case Study in Sopocani Monastery, Serbia

  • Midori HidakaEmail author
  • Junichi Miyata


This paper deals with technical study of mediaeval mural painting in Serbia. The object of the study is Sopocani monastery, focusing in its naos, the biggest space in the monastery church. In accord with the fact that the naos is a part of the oldest construction and one of the best-preserved parts in the church, this study aims to reveal practical devices of painters from the thirteenth century. Research was done by two different methods: accurate documentation and structural research using 3D scanners and analytical research of material used in gold leaf decoration. The survey by 3D scanning revealed the quality of original construction compared to the later extended structure and the unique devices of thirteenth-century painters, who might have been be fully aware of mural paintings being watched from the ground level. Secondary, the analysis on gold leaf decoration disclosed the existence of a red mordant layer under the gold leaf. We can presume that painters made variety of gold leaf decorations, arranging the colour of mordant layer by adjusting composition and combination of pigments. Material analysis also revealed the possibility of silver chloride being used as a painting material in mediaeval Serbian kingdom (1217–1346).


Mural painting Mediaeval Monastery Serbia 



I am heartily thankful to all of those who supported me and encouraged me in proceeding this study. This study would not have been possible without sincere consideration and permission of the Institute for the Protection of Historical Monument of Serbia.

This study is supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research, KAKENHI (JP16H05901, JP16J10608), of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.


  1. 1.
    Hidaka M, Hidaka K, Junichi M (2014) Technique of the mural paintings of the Hospital Church in Horezu Monastery, Romania, 6th European symposium on religious art, Restoration and Conservation, Firenze, pp. 122–125Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Canak-Medic M, Todic B (2013) Stari Ras sa Sopocanima, Neovisad, pp. 82–92Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Conservation of Cultural Properties, Tokyo University of the ArtsTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Japan Society for the Promotion of ScienceTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Art Restoration Studio 21TokyoJapan

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