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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 136

tion, possibly, Weitzmann suggests, because the artist was unfamiliar with
the Greek inscription of some Byzantine model. There is no close parallel
to this work in other crusading products; the Bethlehem paintings are too
damaged for any secure comparison, but it is not out of keeping with the
figure sculpture on the lintel of the Holy Sepulcher. Another icon has a
double row of standing saints, using the western blessing, and strongly reminiscent
of the Bethlehem fig ures in the patterning of their garments. The central
position in the top row is assigned to St. James the Greater, from whom the
Jeru salem patriarchate claimed its succession, and among the others are
two western saints, St. Martin of Tours, who figures prominently in the Melisend
calendar, and St. Leonard, who is represented at Bethle hem. Other of the
Bethlehem saints also occur in these crusader icons: St. Sabas, St. Humphrey,
and St. Marina, who had a chapel in the church at Sinai. 
 Other icons are related to the Acre school. Here once more the Perugian
missal is the key piece. In its full-page illumination of the Crucifixion,
both Mary and John have curiously individual gestures, she pressing her thumb
against her lip, he his little finger against the side of his nose. These
gestures recur in a group of icons, in some of which the lettering is in
Latin. Not all by the same hand, they all follow a close iconographical pattern.
Stylistically they suggest an Italian origin, and while Byzantine elements
are not lacking, the feet of Christ are fixed with one nail in the northern
fashion. Even more striking are the facial resemblances in some of the icons.
In the scene of Christ and the doctors, where the whole treatment in its
feeling for family sentiment is entirely western, the face of Christ follows
the same morphological pattern as that of the reading boy in the page from
the Arsenal Bible of wisdom inspiring Solomon. In a painting where Venetian
influence seems evident, the artist has shown two of the Magi as clearly
marked racial types; one is undoubtedly a Mongol, the other, with a black
pointed beard, seems to be a Frank. Weitzmann has intriguingly suggested
that this work may date from the Christian hopes of Mongol assistance in
the mid-thirteenth century.21 
 There are still many gaps in the argument. Sinai and in particular the saint,
Catherine, whose relics were its greatest treasure, enjoyed much medieval
repute. Early in the eleventh century the abbey of Holy Trinity at Rouen
claimed to possess some fragments of the saint brought by a visiting monk.
Some pilgrims penetrated to the monastery in the crusading period, and it
was vaguely considered to 
21. See volume III of this work, chapter XV. 

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