Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume IV: The art and architecture of the Crusader states
VI: The arts in Frankish Greece and Rhodes, pp. 208-250 PDF (15.7 MB)
250 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES IV chapel of the knights in 1504.31 Its decorations are contemporary work of a lavish nature, armorial bearings intermixed with naturalistic flowers and winged dragons; the scenes, set in landscapes where island castles recall Rhodes itself, are stylistically near the French schools of the time, nearest perhaps to those of Lyons and central France. They are framed in Renaissance arches and pilasters. The seven choral books presented by Villiers de l'Isle Adam to the church in Rhodes still survive in Malta, with the chants as used by the knights, and here too the decoration seems Flemish or northern French.32 Of the other arts, little remains of all the luxury of equipment which amazed pilgrims and visitors in the church of St. John or the palace of the grand master. The treasure of St. John taken to Malta was pillaged by Napoleon or carried to the court of Paul I of Russia, where little is known of it since the revolution of 1917. One fine piece of wood-carving survives, the doors of the hospital which were presented to the Prince de Joinville in 1836 and are now in the Musée de Versailles. They are dated 15 12 and therefore belong to the last period of Hospitaller art in the island. Twenty-four Gothic panels are surmounted by the arms of Amboise and Villiers de l'Isle Adam and framed in spiral columns. It is a splendid piece of curvilinear decoration, and has all the flat richness of surface that characterizes this Franco-Levantine art. Fragments of similar work, which formed the chapel screen at Bodrum, existed there built into the Moslem pulpit, until the chapel was turned into a museum. On Patmos, the most sacred spot of the knights' territory but one that was entirely controlled by Greek monks, the convent of St. John possesses a rich treasure of manuscripts, plate, and woven fabrics, but it is all Byzantine work and owes nothing to western influence. The monastic buildings, surrounded by their twelfth-century walls and in their present form mainly seventeenth-century work, seem to have been little altered during the period of the knights.33 31. G. Bosio, Dell' Istoria della sacra religione et illma militia di San Giovanni Gierosolimitano, I (Rome, 1594), 497. Two pages of the missal are reproduced in the St. John's Gate Picture Book, published in 1947 by the Grand Priory in the British Realm of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. 32. Scicluna, The Church of St. John in Valetta, p. 185. Music seems to have been cultivated in Rhodes: we hear of an Englishman skilled in an instrument composed of four flutes joined together (Bouhours, Histoire de Pierre d'Aubusson, p. 175). 33. Gerola, "I Monumenti medioevale delle tredici Sporadi: Le isole dei monaci di ' Patmos'," Annuario della R. Scuola archeologica diAtene. . . , II (1916), 84-99; G. Jacopi, "Le Miniature dei Codici di Patmo," Clara Rhodos, VI-VIl (1932), 571-591 (161 pls.), and "Cimeli del Ricamo, della pittura e della toreutica nel Tesoro del Monastero di Patmo," Clara Rhodos, VI-VII (1932), 707-7 16 (123 pls.).
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