Gospa od Skrpjela (from the Italian Madonna dello Scarpello) is a baroque church on one of two islets, deep in the Bay of Kotor, across from the town of Perast. The islet is man-made, and had its original church was built in 1452. The present church was built in 1632 and enlarged in 1722.
According to legend, the islet was made over the centuries by the seamen who kept an ancient oath. Upon returning from each successful voyage, they laid a rock in the Bay. Over time, the islet gradually emerged from the sea. Our Lady of the Rocks was seen on this site.
The church contains 68 magnificent paintings by Tripo Kokolja, a famous 17th-century baroque artist from Perast. His most important painting, ten meters long, is The Death of the Virgin. There are also paintings by Italian artists, and an icon (circa 1452) of Our Lady of the Rocks, by Lovro Dobricevic of Kotor.
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www.montenegro.org 25 April 1997