The Image of The Last Judgment on the West Wall of the Church in Voroneț: Genesis and Message

The Image of The Last Judgment on the West Wall of the Church in Voroneț

Genesis and Message




Voroneţ, painted churches of Bukovina, northern Moldova, Last Judgment, cultural study


The article undertakes an analysis of the depiction of The Last Judgment on the western wall of St. George’s Orthodox Church in Voroneț, northern Romania. The composition is part of a larger artistic issue related to the phenomenon of painted churches of northern Moldova, created in its essential core in the 16th century. The objectives established in the title, that is, to determine the genesis and meaning of the composition, encourage tracing several aspects of the fresco. First, it is necessary to outline the possible directions of the influx of inspiration, artists and cultural influences. Next, the sources of the very way of depicting the Day of Judgment and the pictorial formulas used (iconography) should be examined. The message of the work is also directly linked to the functions the fresco has performed over the centuries, reflecting the radical change in the optics of perception depending on the historical and cultural situation. As a whole, it reveals the complex meaning of the image, which invariably makes for an interesting research topic.

Fig. 1
The Last Judgment, western wall, Church of St. George, Voroneț, 1550
Source: Wikimedia, Judecata de apoi, Voronet.jpg (02.11.2023).


Fig. 2
The Ancient of Days (Antiquus Dierum), fragment of The Last Judgment, Church of St. George, Voroneț, 1550
Source: Wikimedia, Română: Mănăstirea Voroneț (02.11.2023).

Fig. 3
The Ancient of Days, Church of the Savior in Nereditsa in Novgorod, 1199
Source: (02.11.2023).

Fig. 4
The Tree of Jesse, fragment, eastern wall, Church of Resurrection, Suceviţa 1596
Source: Wikimedia, Sucevita_murals (02.11.2023).

Fig. 5
The Last Judgment, fragment western wall, Church of St. George, Voroneț, 1550
Source: Wikimedia, Last Judgement/Hell (02.11.2023).

Author Biography

Maria Szcześniak, Jesuit University Ignatianum in Krakow, Poland

Graduated in Art History and the Protection of Cultural Property from the Jagiellonian University. She received her doctoral degree in the field of Cultural and Religious Studies from the Jesuit University Ignatianum in Krakow, where she currently teaches. Her area of interest  includes issues of the formation of image formulas in a broad cultural perspective, with particular emphasis on Christian iconography (Przedstawienie Boga Ojca według przesłania s. Eugenii Ravasio w kontekście tradycji ikonograficznej – studium kulturoznawcze [Image of God the Father according to the message of Sr. Eugenia Ravasio in the context of the Iconographic Tradition – a Cultural Study]). She gained experience in the practical application of art-historical knowledge while working in Krakow’s cultural institutions (including the Wawel Royal Castle’s State Art Collections).