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

VII: Painting and Sculpture in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, 1099-1291,   pp. 251-280 PDF (11.6 MB)

Page 280

century figural sculpture is still fragmentary, but curiously very little
carving of any kind seems to date from after the 1250's. 
 No serious attempt can be made to relate crusader painting to the sculpture
until all the key monuments are adequately studied. Pro duction methods in
the two media indicate nothing surprisingly dif ferent from what is known
of ateliers in the west except the unusual importance of itinerant artists
from widely scattered regions. Sculp ture tended to be a highly differentiated
local art, as did monumental painting, whereas there was greater unity in
manuscript illumination and icons which, being easily portable, could be
distributed from Jerusalem or Acre. It is worth noting, however, that the
sculpture points to a major center for which as yet no painting is known,
Naza reth. Oddly enough, our picture of thirteenth-century Acre seems entirely
out of phase artistically, the extant sculpture dating mostly from before
1250, the painting mostly after 1250 with Louis IX as the pivotal figure.
Future study should help determine whether this is purely the result of chance
survivals or whether sculpture in fact preceded painting there, unlike Jerusalem.
The Byzantine influence so strongly seen in the painting appears only occasionally
in largescale sculpture, as in capitals. But it is more important in the
so-called minor arts like the ivory covers of Melisend's Psalter. It should
be mentioned incidentally that a few other such diminutive works have been
found, like the handsome Bethlehem candlesticks with their niello inscriptions
to curse would-be thieves (pl. XLIX).48 Other portable crusader sculptures
in ivory, precious metals, or wood may yet be identified in western museums
to help clarify crusader devel opments in this area as well.  
 Crusader art was not merely a colonial transplant of western ideas to the
east. Taken as a whole, the crusader experience in the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem
between 1099 and 1291 was beginning to pro duce a fruitful blend of cultures,
western, Byzantine, and Islamic among others, which yielded painting and
sculpture unique in style and iconography, a distinctive chapter in the history
of medieval art. The tragedy is that because of war and destruction much
of crusader art is lost. The works of those who lived by the sword have been
destroyed by it. 
 48. See above, p. 139. 
 49. Heribert Meurer has recently argued that several reliquaries now in
western Europe originated in crusader Jerusalem. See his "Kreuzreliquiare
aus Jerusalem," Jahrbuch der Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen in Baden-Wiirttemberg,
XIII (1976), 7—17. See alsoW. Fleisch hauer, "Das romanische Kreuzreliquiar
von Denkendorf," Festschrift fur Georg Scheja (Sigmaringen, 1975), pp. 64—68.
My thanks to Dr. H. E. Mayer for drawing my attention to these articles.

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