Frescoes representing the family of the owners of the temple are located in the projecting part of the western niche of the temple. To the right from the entrance the parents are depicted, and to the left their three children are shown. The parents are standing under an arch of roses, holding a miniature temple in their hands. Their free hands are raised in prayer. Above the miniature temple, we can see the Christ blessing the temple with his right hand, and blessing the spouse of the owner of the church with his left hand. In the corners of the fresco, below the image of the Christ, the praying Mother of God and John the Forerunner are seen, facing the Christ.
The frescoes representing the owners of the temple give us an idea how people looked in the distant past. It is interesting to see their clothes. The man is wearing a tunic, with a garnet-coloured cloak, draped over it, with a split front and short sleeves. The cloak is lined by fur to protect the man from the cold. The cloak is tightened up on the waist with a belt. From one side of the waist belt a white handkerchief is hanging down, and from the other one a handbag is being seen. The head of the gray-haired father of the family is covered with a scarlet head-dress, of the type, similar to the head-dresses that priests now wear.
The woman is represented wearing the full-length dress of the same colour as the clothes of her husband, but with long sleeves. Her head is covered with a veil. The three children are praying. They are depicted bareheaded, with their arms crossed on their chests. Whereas the parents are shown in dark colours, the children`s images are extremely bright and joyous.This is due to the green branches interlaced with one another, to the white birds that are depicted around the children`s heads. The remaining empty space is occupied by the names of the owner`s deceased children. The painter succeeded in catching a likeliness of all three children, although the images lack the plasticity, that was typical of secular portraits of that time. It`s a temple painting, after all.
Frescoes on Religious Subjects
Look, for example, at the altar above which the large fresco “The Prayer” is placed. In the semi-dome of the niche the Christ, blessing the parishioners, is depicted. He is holding a Gospel book in his left hand. Jesus is wearing a light-coloured tunic. A blue cloak is covering his left shoulder, since blue is the colour of the sky and eternity. There is a cross decorated with jewels on the Saviour`s chest. Worshipping his son of God, the Virgin Mary, robed in scarlet, is depicted, standing as usual to the right of Jesus. She is holding an open book in her left hand. John the Baptist, with his right hand raised in prayer is standing to the left of the Christ. In his left hand John the Baptist is holding the same book as the Virgin Mary.
Right under “The Prayer” we can see the frescoes representing the Sharing of Bread and Wine with the apostles. These two images are arranged symmetrically on either side of the centre of the niche. The apostles, standing in two groups consisting of six persons each, are approaching the Christ one by one, bowing down before the Saviour. To the left, we can see St. Peter who is taking the offered bread from the dish and to the right St. Paul is taking the wine from the holy cup.
In the other parts of the temple, we can see images representing the evangelists and prophets, the scenes of the Nativity, Escape to Egypt, Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, Epiphany, Ascension, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and other evangelical episodes.
Frescoes of the Temple of St. Nicholas in Fountoukli
The unique frescoes painted in the 15-th century are undoubtedly the main treasure of the church. Most of the mural paintings have been preserved up to the present time. In the old days, the whole interior of the church was covered with frescoes. Unfortunately, many of them have faded with time.However, those that have been preserved, give us a clear idea of all the magnificence and splendour of the temple in the past.
According to the contents of the frescoes of the temple, they can be divided into two groups: the frescoes on religious subjects such as the paintings of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the saints, and the portrait frescoes representing the founders of the church and their children.