Crowds and audiences populate the painted walls of the late thirteenth-century church of Saint Clement in Ohrid, Macedonia. This paper examines how these depictions invite different kinds of audience participation. It analyzes inscriptions and liturgical texts as well as architectural and pictorial evidence, in order to delineate a variety of different participatory mechanisms. The paper seeks to clarify how monumental painting could be participatory to different degrees and how different kinds of participation were coordinated within the space of the church.
The invention of depicting figures participating in an event — nameless bystanders, beholders, and onlookers — marks an important change in the ways artists addressed the beholder of the artworks themselves. This shift speaks to a significant transformation of the relationship between images and their audience. The public in the picture acts as mediator between times, persons, and contents. The contributions of this volume describe this moment from a diachronic and transcultural perspective, while each of them focuses on a specific group of works revealing a new moment in this history. They explore the cultural contexts of the political and religious public, and relate the rise of the public in the picture to the rise of perspectival representation (Panofsky’s space-box and Kemp’s Chronotopos).