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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The art and architecture of the crusader states

III: Ecclesiastical Art in the Crusader States in Palestine and Syria,   pp. 69-139 PDF (28.9 MB)

Page 135

Louis IX attacking Damietta, is by a more advanced artist, a bridge with
the contemporary western styles. 
 Another manuscript of William's history (Vatican MS. Pal. Lat. 1963), the
only extant copy from the Levant of the French transla tion without any continuations,
has a particular interest in that its illustrations show a special knowledge
of events in Antioch. The painter, a western artist familiar with some eastern
models, has less skill than the best practitioners of the Acre school, and
there is a more provincial touch about his work, but all probably points
to the volume being the product of some Antiochene scriptorium, and a rare
instance of the arts in that city, whose famed splendor has left so little
trace. 19 
 In addition to wall paintings, mosaics, and illuminations, there were also
paintings on panels. In 1958 and 1960 a joint expedition of the universities
of Michigan, Princeton, and Alexandria photographed the vast collection of
icons, more than two thousand, that has been preserved in the monastery of
St. Catherine on Mount Sinai, a sacred spot protected by Arabs and Turks
alike, and relatively inaccessible to the collecting activities of more recent
times. The results are now being published, and Professor Weitzmann has described
a group of icons which he claims convincingly as products of the crusading
school (pls. XLV-XLVII).20 The earliest of these panels shows a Christ enthroned,
with the drapery forming large oval folds, with little relation to the limbs
beneath, a typical Romanesque conven tion: the fingers of the right hand
give the western blessing, with both the third and fourth fingers bent towards
the thumb. The ini tials of Christ are given in Greek, but the open book
bears no inscrip 
 19. J. Folda, "A Crusader Manuscript from Antioch," Rendiconti della Pontificia
accademia romana di archeologia, ser. 3, XLII (1969-1970), 283-298. Professor
Folda's forthcoming book, Crusader Manuscript Illumination at St. Jean d'Acre,
1275 -1291, which he has kindly allowed me to read in typescript, contains
much additional information about the illustration of William of Tyre's history.
[It was published at Princeton in 1976.] 
 20. K. Weitzmann, "Thirteenth Century Crusader Icons on Mount Sinai," The
Art Bulletin, XLV (1963), 179-203, and "Icon Painting in the Crusader Kingdom,"
Dumbarton Oaks Papers, XX (1966), 49-83. On earlier contacts between Sinai
and the west see E. A. Lowe, "An Unknown Latin Psalter on Mount Sinai," Scriptorum,
IX (1955), 177-1 99, and "Two Other Unknown Latin Liturgical Fragments on
Mount Sinai ,"Scriptorum, XIX (1965), 3-29. Additional studies on the Sinai
icons include three more by Weitzmann, "An Encaustic Icon with the Prophet
Elijah at Mount Sinai," Mélanges offerts a Kazimierz Michalowski (Warsaw,
1966), pp. 713-723, "Four Icons on Mount Sinai: New Aspects in Crusader Art,"
Jahrbuch der österreichischen Byzantinistik, XXI (1972), 279-293, and
"Three Painted Crosses at Sinai," Kunsthistorische Forschungen: Otto Pächt
zu seinem 70. 
Geburtstag (Salzburg, 1972), pp. 2 3-35. In contrast to the hundreds of crusader
icons at St. Catherine's, there are only a few related miniatures; see Weitzmann,
Illustrated Manuscripts at St. Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai (Collegeville,
Minn., 1973), pp. 24-27. [J. F.] 

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