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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume IV: The art and architecture of the Crusader states

VII: Painting and sculpture in the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, 1099-1291,   pp. 251-280 PDF (16.3 MB)

Page 253

from sources he had studied at the famous and venerable Benedictine abbey
of Monte Cassino. 
 A third artist, far less accomplished than either of the other two, executed
a series of nine portraits to illustrate the prayers after the Psalter. He
follows Byzantine models closely as with the Virgin and Child enthroned (p1.
XXXIXd), an image based on the Virgin Nikopoia type. But his style is more
linear and decorative than that of Basilius and his figures more wooden and
doll-like. Lacking the knowledgeable ease of working from Byzantine sources
demonstrated by the well-trained Basilius, this painter copies carefully
but never succeeds in overcoming his strong roots in western Romanesque painting.
 Melisend's codex epitomizes the melange of cultures which made up crusader
Jerusalem and manifested themselves in the paintings found in products of
the scriptorium of the Holy Sepulcher. The strength of the Byzantine influence
is particularly notable, showing that aristocratic patronage at court sought
to rival that at Constanti nople even while the variety of western artistic
backgrounds evident in the paintings points to the peculiarly crusader nature
of the work. 
 Ecclesiastical commissions of the same period show similar charac teristics.
In a sacramentary, partially preserved now in Cambridge at the Fitzwilliam
Museum, and a missal now in the Bibliothèque na tionale, Paris, the
illustrations for the preface to the canon of the liturgy show closely related
compositions (pls. XLa and b respective ly).2 Their similarities derive from
use of a common model, because in style their artists are clearly different,
the Cambridge manuscript painter being related to the Paris codex painter
in a manner some what parallel to Basilius and the painter of the saints'
portraits in the Psalter. That is, the Cambridge artist is the more assured
in working with Byzantine prototypes as seen in the elongated, strongly modeled
figures with flowing draperies, whereas the Paris artist em phasizes stocky
proportions and flat linear pattern including more copious interlace and
animated scrollwork for the initial itself. This does not mean that the Cambridge
painter, probably a south Italian, is equal in ability to Basilius. He is
not, but his familiarity with By zantine models is nearly comparable. The
Paris painter on the other hand goes at his task with the same selfconscious
diligence as the painter of the saints' portraits. In a historiated initial
with the women at the sepulcher the Paris artist meticulously follows Byzan
2. The sacramentary fragment, Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, MS. McClean
49; the missal, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, MS. latin 12056; see
above, pp. 129-130. 

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