Ateni Sioni, the Church of the Dormition of the Virgin, is situated not far from the village of Ateni, 12 kilometers south of the city of Gori. It was built in the 7th century. The architectural type, a tetraconch, i.e a four-apse domed building, was especially typical of the Caucasus architecture of the early Christian period: Ateni Sioni imitates the architecture of the Jvari Church in Mtskheta. The façades of the Sioni church are furnished with carved quadrangle greenish-gray stones, including the insertion of stones of different colors, richly decorated with reliefs. Furthermore, Ateni Sioni is particularly noteworthy for its outstanding wall paintings. Two layers of aniconic painting from the 7th and 8th centuries were covered during the 1080s and 1090s by murals representing the Apocryphal cycle of the Virgin’s life as well as an Christological cycle. The donators’ portraits depicted on the western wall, iconographic and stylistic peculiarities, as well as numerous explanatory inscriptions in Asomtavruli, provide doubtless indications of the date of the murals. The monumental style, the tectonic and structural character of the compositions and the program provide evidence that they belong to the so-called “classical” period of Georgian medieval art.

View from the Northwest (Photo: Dror Maayan)

Sculptural Animal Head on the Roof of the Northern Conch, 10th century (?)(Photo: Dror Maayan)

Relief of Samson struggling with a lion. Abbacum and the Angel, 10th century, Western Façade (Photo: Dror Maayan)

View into the Northern Conch (Foto: Dror Maayan)

Crucifixion, 11th century, Northern Conch (Photo: Dror Maayan)

Visitation, 11th century, Southern Conch (Photo: Dror Maayan)

© KHI in Florence | 15.05.2021 09:57:39