Frescoes can be found in many churches in Istria, where they represent their distinct characteristic. It is a technique of painting on freshly laid lime plaster with rapid brushstrokes. The Church of St Michael over Lim houses one of the oldest frescoes in Istria and the wider region.
The Church of St Michael over Lim houses one of the oldest frescoes in Istria and the wider region.
It belongs to an earlier phase of fresco painting in Istria and to the oriental-Hellenic and Byzantine style adopted here through the efforts of the Ottonic (German) school. They were created in the 11th or 12th centuries, with significant pre-Romanesque features.
Thus the church houses and develops scenes from the western iconography in the narrative sequence and realistic form, keeping to the Ottonic tradition.
Fresco painting in St Michael over Lim can be ascribed to a distinct internationalism of the Benedictine abbey painting style of the so called Ottonic circle, both with regard to iconography and fresco painting techniques. That influence spread from the German Benedictine abbeys of Echternach, Reichenau, Fuld and later Regensburg, finding fertile ground among the local Camaldolese. Thus the church houses and develops scenes from the western iconography in the narrative sequence and realistic form, keeping to the Ottonic tradition. Influence of the Ottonic school of southern Germany is evident in the elongated figures, clothes, gestures, parts of the ornamentation, while the fresco painting expression and technique exhibit traces of the oriental-Hellenic style (fashionable paragaudion motifs, impressionist modellation, blue background, excitation of the scene). The elements of the expression of the Byzantine fresco painting were not adopted directly from Byzantium, but rather came through the Ottonic school and Italic artistic workshops who had previously adopted such motifs and techniques.