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

V: The arts in Cyprus,   pp. 165-207 PDF (8.9 MB)

Page 168

somewhat heavy volutes, of a type repeated on the window colonnettes of the
ambulatory and transepts. The actual capitals of these pillars are more elaborately
cut; two of them might well be from Byzantine building; the other two have
the normal stiff-leaf foliage of the early thirteenth century. The transepts,
rising only to the height of the aisles, have apsidal chapels of a typical
twelfthcentury Palestinian type, but the plan of the east end, an am bulatory
without side chapels, is nearer to French practice, and its ribbed vaults,
though somewhat clumsily fitted to the bend of the semicircle, are finely
molded. The date of 1209 would fit well with the scheme. It is to be noted
that the archbishop in that year, Thierry, is known to us only through his
obit registered at Notre Dame in Paris, and that a close connection with
the Ile de France may be presumed. 
 During the episcopate of Eustorgue of Montaigu the progress of the building
can be followed by references to the problem of financing it. The struggle
with Frederick II brought an interruption; the coming of Louis IX, a new
contact with metropolitan France, for the king is said to have brought some
of his chief masons with him. Archbishop Eustorgue accompanied him on his
crusade and died at Damietta in 1250. By then the choir and transepts had
been in use for some time (there is some indication that they were consecrated
in 1228). The completion of the nave, delayed by repairs necessary after
an earthquake in 1270 and by brief episcopates, was not achieved till 1326,
when archbishop John del Conte celebrated a great service of dedication.
He embellished the church with a marble screen, wall paintings, and rich
fittings, strengthened the buttresses of the chevet, and began work on tile
west porch, the most richly decorated part of the whole building. 
 Externally, the nave presents no abrupt contrast with the eastern arm, but
the cornice changes from a curious Burgundian twelfthcentury pattern to a
Gothic stiff-leaf design, and there are variations also in the window moldings.
Inside, cylindrical columns with plain octagonal bases, echoed by octagonal
abaci, support the ribs of a quadripartite vault. The capitals, now heavily
covered with paint, have been mutilated. There is in the Medieval Museum
a capital of a similar size with elaborate stiff-leaf foliage volutes on
ribbed stems; it comes from the ruins of a church, known only by its Turkish
name of Yeni Jami, but it may well preserve the type of carving used in the
cathedral. Such ornament would have relieved the present severe simplicity
of the nave, so uneasily at variance with its mosque equipment of crude chandeliers,
vivid carpets, and splashes of green 

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