Icons of the painting school of Boka Kotorska


about 600 icons were filmed on 80 locations in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia. In the autumn of 2004, the author and his wide spent a week in Kotor and together they visited several churches with frescoes and icons made by his ancestors, traced back to the Dimitrijević and Rafailović families. He was struck by the idea of compiling proper and all-encompassing documentation: new digital cameras, churches generally small, scaffolds not needed, two-person team enough, brother-in-law, a fully equipped professional photographer with a car and a generator, and the author with catalogues, documentation, blessings, permits, car maps, addresses, phone numbers... The search for icons and frescoes started with a comprehensive catalogue by Professor Rajko Vujičić It seemed easy at first but, later, the biggest difficulty turned out to be obtaining filming permissions. Also months were needed to do computer editing of the filmed materials and to sort out the legends. The wheels were set in motion with the largest single collection, found at the National Museum of Belgrade, followed by travel, an expedition that lasted nine years. It is nice to reach the goal after a long journey. The author will try to make a general catalogue with all the known icons and frescoes. It continues...

Photographs: Aleksandar Milosavljević and Aleksandar Rafajlović
Author, photo and legend editing: Aleksandar Rafajlović
Assistant photo editor: Vesna Rafajlovic
Video presentation: Nikola Rafajlovic
Music: Jocelyn Pook
Running time: 46 minutes


255 photographs from 16 journeys documenting frescoes and icons of Europe's oldest family painting workshop: Dimitrije Daskal, the founder, his four sons Gavrilo, Rafailo, Danilo and Oorde, named Dimitrijević after him, Maksim Tujković, sons of Rafailo: Petar and Vasilije, whose last name carries the name of their father so that generations that were to come would preserve it, sons of Vasilije: Oorde and Hristofor, and Hristofor's sons Jovan and Ivo. They lived in Risan from the late 17th through the 18th century. They moved to Grbalj, to live and work there, in the 19th century. There is hardly any available information about the lives of the painters. Rare written inscriptions on the frescoes and icons, the 1704 Venetian census of Risan, ad hoc information, notes on a court case and several contracts is all we know about them, and all there is to draw logical conclusions from. Two painters left no signatures on their work and only the last two have the dates of birth and date registered. Until now a great deal of work has been destroyed by various disasters. Nevertheless, the remaining part, however small, is still of remarkable volume and relevance, and provides information about the last post-Byzantines from these parts.

Aleksandar is Ivo's great-grandson.

12 photographs
 48,7 x 75 cm each
 Aleksandar Rafajlović Foto: Milovan MilenkovićAleksandar Rafajlović Foto: Milovan Milenković

Click on link below to visit web site with foto documentation of icons of painting school of Boka Kotorska:


The site with the complete icon documentation contains over 13,000 photographs. It shows locations and offers instructions on how to reach them. Visit the places, churches, monasteries, crypts, galleries and museums which house the icons that were filmed; lots of details, which admirers might find interesting and researchers useful, were taken.
Icons are best seen in churches, on their original iconostasis. A large number of icons from Boka Kotorska and Grblje, expertly conserved and restored after the great earthquake of 1979, have never been returned to the churches. Many still await renovation. The largest number of icons bears no signature or date. The documentation presents an opportunity for all icons to be seen, artistic workmanship to be enjoyed, numerous uncertainties concerning authorship or time of origin resolved... The filming which started in 2005 is not completed yet. Only a few undocumented icons remain. Some icons were filmed, and are now presented, for the first time in this photo-documentation.The author, with his limited knowledge and experience, edited a lot of legends while waiting for experts to deal with them. He is boundlessly grateful to all the wonderful people who helped the project because without their valuable help this job would not be properly done.
Chief photographer: Aleksandar Milosavljević
Author, sole financier, second photographer: Aleksandar Rafajlović
Assistant photo editor: Vesna Rafajlović
Site production: Nikola Rafajlović