Having conquered Syria and Palestine and gained control of the holy places in the course of the First Crusade (1096-1099), the crusaders were determined to restore and refurbish them, as well as to reconstruct Jerusalem and the other major cities of Outremer. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem was an obvious focus, both with its regular services and its pilgrim traffic, especially at the time of the great feasts, but several other churches and monasteries too were restored or rebuilt with the patronage of the Frankish kings and Frankish baronage, as well as with endowments from western Europe. Religious houses were usually attached to holy sites, and some sites were under the protection of the military orders, who themselves stimulated building activity and the commissioning of works of art. Accounts given by pilgrims visiting from the West in the twelfth century and, later, in the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries, provide much information about the shrines, and their decoration and works of art.
The key image in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was the great Easter picture of the Anastasis (Christ’s Descent into Hell), representing his triumph over death as he trampled the gates of Hell to retrieve his Old Testament ancestors. This was depicted in the apse located in the rotunda within the Byzantine mid-eleventh-century mosaic program. So revered was it that the Franks moved it to the new apse of their enlarged church, dedicated in 1149. The image can be envisaged through the same scene painted in the Queen Melisende Psalter. The rest of the Byzantine mosaics were retained in the rotunda, including the images of Constantine the Great and St. Helena. Several Byzantine mosaics were also retained in the remodeled Chapel of Calvary, above the Chapel of Golgotha, also with mosaics. In Calvary, appropriately, the scenes of the Crucifixion and the Deposition retained pride of place on the eastern walls of the two sections of the chapel. To these and other remaining figural mosaics were added other mosaics (depicting prophets and kings) before 1149. One small fragment of the Ascension of Christ in the vault of the southeast bay and inscribed in Latin is preserved. At this time mosaics were also added, with inscriptions, to the aedicule (small building) over the tomb of Christ, sited below the rotunda. These depicted the Entombment and the Three Maries at the tomb, both images that again can be envisaged from the Melisende Psalter.
Existing mosaics, this time dating to the Umayyad period in the late seventh century, were retained in the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount when it was converted into the church known as the Templum Domini (Temple of the Lord) and consecrated in 1142. The Franks added an inscribed mosaic frieze to the outside of the building and added a painting of the scene of the Presentation in the Temple to the dome.
A major program of mosaic work is partially preserved at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. An inscription in the apse indicates that the main mosaicist was Ephraim, a monk, who completed the work in 1169 under the Byzantine emperor Manuel I Komnenos and King Amalric of Jerusalem during the episcopacy of Ralph, bishop of Bethlehem. Another inscription (bilingual Latin and Syriac) in the nave gives the name of Basilius, a deacon, and it is likely that a third artist undertook the transept mosaics. The implication of Basilius’s inscription is that indigenous Christians played a major role in such a politically charged artistic project. As a unity, the program is concerned with the Incarnation. The Nativity is shown in mosaic in the grotto beneath the church. The genealogy, life, and passion of Christ are spelled out, culminating in the Virgin and Child image in the apse (now lost). In the nave, the ancestors of Christ were depicted beneath the church councils and processing angels. The mosaics represent an attempt by Manuel Komnenos to effect ecumenical unity among the Greek Orthodox (Melkite), Latin, and Eastern Christian communities. This initiative to bring the indigenous Christian churches into communion with the Greek and Latin churches was part of both a wider theological agenda and a concerted political plan to unite Christians against the Islamic threat. The style of the mosaics, especially those that depict the councils, has much in common with the seventh-century mosaics of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and other Umayyad monuments, especially in the coloring of gold, green, and red with silver and mother-of-pearl.
Surviving twelfth-century wall paintings still in situ bear out the witness of Western pilgrim accounts that several of the monuments at the holy places were decorated with wall paintings. We now know that the Church of St. Anne in Jerusalem was painted, as were the crypt chapel of the tomb of the Virgin, St. Mary of Jehosaphat in the Kidron Valley, St. Lazarus at Bethany, St. John the Baptist in ‘Ain Karem, and churches on Mount Zion. An inscription from a wall painting is preserved from the Church of St. Mary Latin. In addition, Greek Orthodox monasteries in Jerusalem and the Judaean desert retain wall paintings. Paintings have survived at the monastery of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, as well as monasteries of St. Sabas, Euthymios, Kalamon, and Theoktistos, in addition to the monasteries of Choziba and Kastelion.
The nave columns of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem include Eastern monastic saints among a very diverse group indicative of its crusading milieu. These include saints to which crusaders particularly related, such as St. George and St. Leonard; the bishops Leo, Blasius, and Catald; and two Scandinavian kings, St. Knud IV of Denmark (d. 1086) and St. Olaf II Haraldson, king of Norway (d. 1030). Pictures of donors are themselves depicted on some of the column paintings. The paintings were probably painted over a wide time span. One of the Virgin and Child panels (the affectionate panel of the Gykophilousa) can be dated to 1130, and it has been suggested that some may have been added as late as the 1170s.
The Church of St. John the Baptist at Sebastea in Samaria retains wall-painting fragments in the niche of its crypt, from after the mid-twelfth century. These show the saint’s martyrdom by decapitation above and the burial of the saint’s head below, while angels flank the upper scene. The 1170s saw the decoration of the church at Emmaus (Abu Ghosh), the place where Christ met the two disciples after his resurrection. Appropriately, the imagery is that of salvation, with the Anastasis, inscribed in Latin in the main apse, echoing the image in mosaic at the Holy Sepulchre. The Deisis (intercessionary picture), inscribed in Greek, occupies the north apse, while the scene of the three patriarchs holding souls, inscribed in Latin, is located in the south apse. It has been shown that one of the painters at Abu Ghosh was working in the highest Byzantine style of the day, reflecting the high priority that Manuel Komnenos put on the refurbishment of the holy places. This use of Komnenian style is most clearly seen in the painting of the mourning apostles in the Dormi- tion (the Death of the Virgin), on the north wall of the nave. Also attributed to the 1170s are the now heavily restored paintings on a large stone at Bethphage, originally erected to mark the site from which Christ left Bethphage for Jerusalem. It depicts the remnants of scenes of Matthew 21:6 and 8, with the Raising of Lazarus. Also attributed to the 1170s is the painting, on a block of stone, of an angel from the Church of the Agony at Gethsemane, which is in the Museum of the Flagellation in Jerusalem.
Military chapels and secular palaces were also decorated. Fragments from a scene of the Annunciation from a military chapel dedicated to the Virgin at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem are preserved in the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem. Fragments of wall painting at the castle of Krak des Chevaliers in the county of Tripoli date from different periods and were painted by artists from different backgrounds. Paintings done in the external, baptismal chapel depict St. Panteleimon, and the Virgin and Child Hodegetria (i.e., with the Virgin pointing toward the Child) in a Byzantine-influenced style, dating to around 1170. A fresco depicting the Presentation in the Temple painted by a Syrian Orthodox artist in a style resembling that of the area of present-day Lebanon dates to around 1200. It is known from a description of the German pilgrim Willibrand of Oldenburg that the palace of the Ibelin family in Beirut in the early thirteenth century was decorated with the zodiac on the ceiling, alongside marbled walls and pavement. This is recorded as being the work of Syrians, Saracens, and Greeks.
The scriptorium at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, founded in the second quarter of the twelfth century, was the focus for the production of several illustrated manuscripts, made for members of the monarchy, the aristocracy, and ecclesiastics. It is assumed that the scriptorium was located in the monastery attached to the church. An example of a manuscript made for royal patronage is the Melisende Psalter, datable to 1131/1143.
Two surviving Latin service books were probably made for ecclesiastics. One is a sacramentary (a liturgical manuscript containing the prayers and texts recited in the Mass), which is now divided between MS Rome, Biblioteca Angelica, D.7.3, and MS Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, Maclean 49. The sacramentary is illustrated with decorated initials, as is also a missal (the service book of the Mass), now MS Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, lat. 12056. Both service books are ornamented with foliage, interlace, and geometric motifs. The Cambridge and Paris manuscripts probably both also had full-page miniatures of Christ in Majesty, and the Crucifixion. Figural initials in both include Christ between two adoring angels, and kneeling angels. Additionally, the Paris manuscript has initials with small scenes of the Virgin and Child, St. John the Baptist, Christ, the Death of the Virgin, St. Peter, and the Holy Women at the Tomb. It has been suggested that some of these scenes give an impression of the mosaics that once decorated the rotunda and the Chapel of Calvary at the Holy Sepulchre at the time. The sources for the illustration of the manuscripts are more diverse; they have been traced to English, French, and Italian books that would have been brought to Jerusalem, together with Byzantine sources that would have been available through the Greek Orthodox community in the city. As to the English books, a key role has been proposed for Prior William, later archbishop of Tyre from 1127, who may even have established the scriptorium. But there was a clear local input. The quires of the missal are numbered in Armenian letters, indicating the involvement of at least one indigenous Christian, the scribe, an Armenian who knew Latin. While the scriptorium of the Holy Sepulchre was the major center in the twelfth century, it may not have been the only one. Edessa before its fall in 1144 and Antioch too would probably have been centers of production, both of which had substantial indigenous Christian populations.
Gothic cathedral of St. Nicholas in Famagusta, now a mosque. (Richard List/Corbis)
A single illustrated manuscript is attributed to the period of the rule of Emperor Frederick II as king and regent of Jerusalem in the early thirteenth century. This is a psalter (MS Florence, Biblioteca Riccardiana, 323) datable to the second quarter of the thirteenth century, and made for a noble lady according to its litany and prayers. Though many of the saints invoked are from northwest France, St. Benedict, St. Giles, and St. Anne are given a prominence that associates the litany with the Benedictine convent in Jerusalem on the site where Joachim and Anne, the parents of St. Mary the Virgin, lived and where the Virgin herself was born. However, since this convent had been appropriated by Saladin in 1187, it is more likely that this association is at one degree remote, that is, that the litany on which this manuscript is based is from St. Anne’s. The manuscript displays New Testament scenes of the life of Christ, illustrating initials at the beginning of the eight divisions of the text. These are in historical order rather than having any bearing on the text they accompany, a feature of German manuscripts. The illustration also displays several Byzantine features, as well as elements derived from Sicilian manuscript and mosaics. This range of references has prompted the suggestion that the manuscript was commissioned as a wedding present from the emperor Frederick II to his third wife, Isabella, sister of King Henry II of England.
Noah’s Ark, illustration from the Universal History from the Creation of the World until the Time of Caesar. Painted by an anonymous monk between 1260 and 1270 in Acre. MS Dijon, Bibliothèque Municipale, 562. (Erich Lessing/Art Resource)
After the loss of Jerusalem in 1187, much of the impetus for the production of manuscripts moved north to Acre, which was the center of government for the next century and the seat of the Latin patriarchate of Jerusalem for most of that time. The identification of Acre as the center of production arose from the reference to Acre in the liturgical calendar of a missal (MS Perugia, Biblioteca Capitolare, 6). This manuscript has one full-page illustration, one half-page illustration, and initials. The full-page illustration (of the Crucifixion) is related to Venetian panel painting. This had proved influential in the attribution of icons to Outremer.
But the Byzantine influence that foregrounds so much of the manuscript illumination of Outremer is still evident here in two of the illustrated initials.
The major manuscript of the mid-thirteenth century is the Arsenal Old Testament (MS Paris, Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, 5211), a lavishly illustrated manuscript of Old Testament excerpts in Old French. It is attributed to the patronage of King Louis IX of France during his time on crusade in Acre in 1250-1254. From the time that Louis took the cross in 1244 to the time he left on crusade, he was involved in the building of the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, which functioned both as palace chapel and as a shrine for the Passion relics he had recently acquired from Constantinople: the Crown of Thorns and parts of the True Cross, as well as the lance and sponge. The Old Testament manuscript is evidence of Louis’s continuing interest in artistic projects and his concern to associate biblical and French kingship. The manuscript is illustrated with twenty miniatures, each acting as a frontispiece to one of the individual books. Most of these are full-page illustrations, illustrating a cycle of scenes subdivided into rectangles, roundels, or lobed shapes. The sources of the illustration combine the art of France, available through manuscripts in the royal collection, with Byzantine models.
As well as service books and biblical manuscripts, there was a strong demand at Acre for new types of books in the vernacular as in the West. These included manuscripts of history and law, catering to a wider clientele than previously, including knights and members of the military orders as well as royalty and the aristocracy and ecclesiastics. Amongst these were lavishly decorated copies of the Histoire Universelle (a history of the world from the Creation to Julius Caesar) and William of Tyre’s chronicle translated from Latin into French, as well as works by Cicero. One of these (MS Chantilly, Bibliothèque du Château, 590) was commissioned by William of St. Stephen, a lawyer and Hospitaller knight at Acre. A translator named John of Antioch translated Cicero’s DeInventione and Rhetorica ad Herennium into Old French, adding at the end of the prologue that this project was undertaken in Acre in 1282. The artist employed to create the decorated initials in the manuscript (known as the Hospitaller Master) here introduced a contemporary French Gothic style. This style proved influential on manuscript illumination until the fall of Acre. In addition, artists in Acre were by this time giving prominence not only to Byzantine modes but also turning to more contemporary Arabic illumination and depicting local customs. One Histoire universelle manuscript (MS London, British Library, Add. 15268) is an example of this last flowering; it was probably made to commemorate the coronation of Henry II, king of Jerusalem (1286).
Icons served several purposes. Small icons were frequently for personal use, by both religious and laypeople. Others were made for liturgical use, to be displayed on the templon, or iconostasis, either between the columns or at the top (epistyle). Others were made to be displayed on stands or used in processions. The imagery employed was extensive. Individual saints were venerated through some icons, while others displayed feast scenes. Images of the Virgin and Child or Christ played a special role. Although icons were predominantly associated with Byzantine and Eastern Christian religious practice, Westerners came to venerate and commission them in Outremer. The icon collection of the Greek Orthodox monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai houses several that display Western features and iconography, some of which also have Latin inscriptions. Some were commissioned by Western pilgrims and other visitors, and some were for special purposes, notably for liturgical practices and for particular chapels at Sinai. Several icons with Western features have been attributed to French, Italian, or Cypriot painters. Yet there is a growing recognition that many may have been made by indigenous artists, or monk-artists, especially since the community at the monastery at the time was both multicultural and multilingual. Sinai was also a cult center, visited as the site of the Burning Bush and the giving of the Law to Moses. The Virgin was also venerated here, as was St. Catherine, whose relics were brought here in the tenth century and in whose name the monastery came to be known from the thirteenth century. As a martyr saint she was particularly revered by Western pilgrims. The Chapel of the Burning Bush was also visited by Muslims, according to pilgrim accounts.
One icon at Sinai, inscribed in Latin, is usually attributed to Jerusalem before its fall in 1187, although it can in fact probably be reattributed to the early Ayyūbid period. It shows six frontally facing saints of whom two, St. James the Greater and St. Stephen, are associated with Jerusalem. Two Western saints are also included, St. Martin of Tours and St. Leonard. The latter is shown holding manacles, appropriate to his status as the patron saint of prisoners. But the vast majority of the inadequately named “crusader” icons are from the thirteenth century. Among their characteristics are the appearance of Western iconographical elements, beaded hales, decorated borders, the use of the raised gesso plas- terwork technique to imitate metalwork coverings, and certain stylistic features, including the appearance of bulging “spectacle” eyes. Some, such as a small icon of St. Marina (now in the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas), are attributed to the area of Tripoli, where the saint’s cult was particularly strong. Likewise, a small icon at Sinai portraying a veiled woman praying to the equestrian St. Sergios has been attributed to the same area, commissioned by a Frankish woman who may have been a member of a Cistercian lay confraternity. Such equestrian saints were especially favored by Frankish patrons because of the protection they were believed to afford. It has been argued that an icon in the British Museum in London, of St. George riding a white horse and rescuing the serving boy from Mytilene, was made at Lydda, where the saint was martyred and buried in the early Christian period. The belief that St. George fought for the crusader army at Antioch in 1098 stimulated further Frankish veneration of this saint. But images of the Virgin and Child retained an abiding popularity, and one special icon, taken from Jerusalem, was preserved at Saidnaya, a Greek Orthodox shrine in Muslim-held territory north of Damascus. Here both Eastern and Western Christians mingled with Muslims to venerate the icon.
Sculpture was produced both by indigenous sculptors, working in the traditional Byzantine manner, and by incoming French and Italian artists, or their settled descendants, working in Romanesque Levantine style in the twelfth century and Gothic in the thirteenth. After Jerusalem was retaken by Saladin in 1187, Arab writers described the beauty of the marble used in the buildings of Jerusalem. Much was broken up and destroyed then, but it is not surprising that some is found reused in Muslim buildings such as the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Frankish building work at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre from the second quarter of the twelfth century in particular would have required considerable resources in terms of the numbers of masons and sculptors required for the extensive masonry work, as well as the decorated capitals throughout the building. Several of the sculptors may well have worked elsewhere in Jerusalem, including the Church of St. Anne, where carved capitals adorn the church, whose crypt was visited by pilgrims as being the birthplace of the Virgin. The Holy Sepulchre ambulatory with its radiating chapels is deemed to be the earliest part of the Frankish remodeling of the church, judging from the spiky-leaf acanthus capitals and masons’ marks.
One of the most important (and debated) ensembles of sculpture in the kingdom of Jerusalem comprises the west façade and the lintels of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. While the cornices on the façade are recognized to be derived from local early Christian prototypes (and indeed some may be Roman sculpture reused), there is no consensus as to the lintels of the doors themselves. Now believed to have been erected about a decade after the dedication of part of the church in 1149, the lintels were removed in 1929 to what is now the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem, because of the damage that was taking place to the sculpture through decay. They have been injected below the surface, which has caused blistering and impedes both the reading and the study of the style of the panels. The former west (left) lintel is figural. the scenes are usually identified as, from left to right: (1) the Raising of Lazarus, (2) Jesus met by Mary and Martha on the road to Bethany, (3) Jesus sending the two disciples to fetch the ass and the colt, with, below, two disciples preparing the Paschal Lamb. The last two scenes are (4) the Entry into Jerusalem, and (5) the Last Supper. Attributed to different sculptors, they have been interpreted in different ways. One interpretation posits the lintel as representing the procession of pilgrims on Palm Sunday, reversing the first two scenes in accord with the itinerary from Bethany to Jerusalem. Another view is that the scenes should be read from the center outward, with the third scene interpreted as the Cleansing of the Temple, a prefiguration of the crusaders’ acts in liberating the Church of the Holy Sepulchre from the infidels. The lintels become a metaphor for salvation, in the west lintel, and sin and seduction in the east, with the latter’s swirling scrolls and naked figures. A third view interprets the scenes in the light of decoration within the church and the way in which pilgrims visited the church.
Sculpture was commissioned for particular shrines or complexes of buildings. A considerable amount of work was undertaken before the mid-twelfth century. Vivid carved capitals, with a variety of acanthus, palmette, and scroll patterns, as well as animal and bird motifs, were carved on the former baptistery, now the Qubbat al-Mi’raj on the Temple platform, as well as at the Church of the Ascension. These were most likely undertaken after the dedication of the Temple of the Lord in 1142. The discovery of sculptural pieces was reported between 1900 and 1903 in the western, Greek part of the Mauristan (Hospital of St. John) to the south of the Holy Sepulchre, which are now in the Museum of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and the Convent of the Flagellation. These included a bowman with an attacking animal, probably a wolf, believed to be from the façade of the church of St. Mary the Great and probably carved in the 1160s.
Jesus and His Spouse, the Church, Beset by Devils. A capital for a column at the Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth. This and five other capitals were sculpted in northern France and transported to the East around 1186-1187. Saladin’s victories prevented their being placed in the church. They were hidden away for safety and uncovered in the 1950s. (Courtesy Alfred Andrea)
The “wet leaf acanthus” style of sculpture, evocatively so called by art historians because of its characteristically long, spiky acanthus leaves that droop as if moistened, dominates sculpture found at the Temple area. This is associated with the major building campaign initiated here in the 1160s at the Dome of the Rock and the Temple of Solomon (al- Aqsa), which continued up to the fall of Jerusalem in 1187. These included the buildings associated with the Knights Templar: a church, cloisters, shrines, and house with service buildings. Much of this sculpture was reused in al-Aqsa and elsewhere. It has been suggested that there was a group of sculptors who constituted a “Temple Area Workshop” or “Templar Workshop.” However, it is difficult to be categorical about the existence of such a workshop when the material is both scattered and has affinities with sculpture beyond the Temple area. Wet-leaf sculpture is also found on fragments of carved marble with animals and men in scrolls from the Holy Sepulchre, which are believed to have formed part of the formerly painted decoration of the aedicule. Also formerly in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (with fragments now in the Museum of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate) were the tombs of Baldwin IV and Baldwin V with sculpture of this type. This style is also represented in the church of St. Mary of Jehosaphat, as well as in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
The main sculptural program outside Jerusalem in the twelfth century was that planned for the enlarged Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, work on which was initiated by Archbishop Letard II of Nazareth in the 1170s. Five pristine capitals, four polygonal ones with scenes of the Mission of the Apostles and the fifth with a rectangular top, the latter with a female figure (the Virgin or Ecclesia, personification of the Church) leading a reluctant apostle or believer through territory attacked by demons, were found in excavations undertaken during 1907-1909, with further sculpture uncovered during excavations in the 1950s and 1960. An aedicule of the House of the Virgin inside the church was planned as the focus of the church’s interior, in addition to the decorated west portal on the exterior. Some portal fragments can be reconstructed, including Christ Enthroned in the tympanum as the Lord Incarnate, with archivolts above, and column figures on either side. These include St. Peter holding his keys and a model of the church, and a prophet figure, the latter now in the collection of Chatsworth House (Derbyshire, U.K.). The four polygonal capitals were intended to decorate a baldachino above the aedicule planned to house an altar over the shrine-grotto. They display scenes from the lives of the apostles St. Thomas, St. Peter, St. James, and St. Matthew. Other capitals may well have been placed on the cruciform piers north and south of the nave, as well as used on the engaged columns on the nave arcade. There may well have been links between sculptors here and elsewhere in the Latin kingdom, again suggesting that sculptors moved from one project to the next. An affinity has been suggested between work in Nazareth and at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (including a capital of Solomon in the north gallery), as well as sculpture at the castle of Belvoir.
Thirteenth-century sculpture in Outremer displays Gothic features. An example of a portal is that removed from a church in Acre and reused as the main portal of the fourteenth-century madrasa (school) and mausoleum of the Mamlûk sultan al-Nasir Muhammad in Cairo. It is characterized by its slender arches with foliage capitals, over which is a refoil arch beneath point de arches above. Foliage capitals also feature in the thirteenth-century section of the cathedral of Notre Dame at Tortosa. Other capitals are preserved in the Hospitaller complex at Acre, as well as fragments of figural sculpture in the Municipal Museum at Acre. Consols carved with human heads, as well as others with foliage, are preserved on the north tower at Château Pèlerin.
Metalwork played a part in both monumental and small- scale work. When the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem was converted into a church, an octagonal iron screen (still preserved, although dismantled) was added around the sacred rock, which was covered with marble casing and used as the choir. There was also a gilded cross above the dome. Metalworkers also produced seals, and information about Frankish coinage largely comes from excavations and coin hoards. Treasuries contained reliquaries, of which those with fragments of the True Cross were particularly venerated. These reliquaries frequently took the form of a double-armed cross of wood, encased in silver gilt and jeweled. Pilgrim tokens and votive objects were made of metal and mother-of-pearl, often shaped in the form of a cross. Ampullae for holy oil were also commonly used by pilgrims. Other portable objects were decorated with sacred figural imagery. Ecclesiastical objects, including bells, have been found in excavations in Bethlehem. Secular objects, including belt buckles and jewelry, have been found in excavations, including that at Athlit, where glass fragments were also found. Tyre, Antioch, and Acre are named in textual sources as places where glass was produced. Ivory carving is represented by the covers of the Queen Melisende Psalter. Glazed sgrafitto pottery with figural designs and colored in green, yellow, and brown has been found at St. Simeon (the port of Antioch), the castle of Château Pèlerin, and elsewhere.
The prosperity of Cyprus during the earlier twelfth century continued in the early part of Lusignan rule (1192-1489), following the capture of the island by King Richard I of England in 1191 during the Third Crusade (1189-1192). This prosperity is reflected in the extensive building program that ensued.
The two main urban centers in Lusignan Cyprus were Nicosia (mod. Lefkosia) and Famagusta (mod. Ammochos- tos), the latter gaining special prominence as a major emporium of the eastern Mediterranean after the fall of Acre in 1291. One of the major ecclesiastical buildings in Nicosia was the cathedral of St. Sophia (now the Selimiye mosque). Although much of the work was undertaken in the first half of the thirteenth century, the cathedral was not dedicated until 1326. Fragments also betray work of an earlier date, indicating that the all-important links with the mainland of Outremer were retained. The doorway to the north transept, for example, has capitals and a frieze carved in a style comparable to late twelfth-century carving characteristic of Jerusalem and often associated with the Temple area. It is highly likely that work from another project was diverted for use in the construction of the cathedral. Other aspects of the sculptural decoration are classically Gothic, including the stiff-leaf capitals of the exterior of the nave. Inside, the windows of the nave clerestory contain trefoil tracery in circles. With the west-end window, they are datable to around 1300. The west porch was added in the fourteenth century, comprising three vaulted bays with gables above each of the entrances. The foliage capitals of the doorways are typical of much Cypriot sculptural work. The voussoirs of the arch of the main tympanum of the porch show figures of ecclesiastics, prophets, kings, and queens. Sculptural fragments at the base of the tympanum suggest that the tympanum once contained the scene of the Transfiguration and that there must have been a trumeau figure between the doors. Each of the three doorways is flanked by niches that probably contained painted panels. The church of the nunnery of Our Lady of Tyre (now an Armenian church), a Jerusalem foundation from the late thirteenth or early fourteenth century, displays flat-leaved foliage capitals on its former south door. From the later fourteenth century, sculpted foliage decoration adorned several churches, including the western porch of the former Church of St. Mary of the Augustinians (now the Omeriyeh mosque), and the Church of St. Catherine (now the Haydarpafla mosque), to the northeast of St. Sophia. To the south, the covered market (the Bedestan) comprises the remains of two churches of the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, with Gothic-style doorways, lintels, capitals, and carved reliefs. Finally, the royal palace of Nicosia, destroyed by the Venetians in the sixteenth century, was famous for its lavish decoration.
The Latin cathedral of St. Nicholas of Famagusta (now the Lala Mustafa Pafla mosque), where the kings of Cyprus were crowned as kings of Jerusalem, was begun around 1300. The west façade is based purely on French Gothic style. This is apparent in its design of balancing towers, decorated with gables, as well as in its traceried windows, in the gabling above each of three lower porches on the ground story, and in the central rose window above a triad of vertical lights. The figural sculpture was destroyed after the Turkish occupation in 1571, but it is evident that the central doorway had column figures and a central trumeau. The voussoirs retain their leaved ornament, similar to that of St.
Sophia at Nicosia and elsewhere. Other sculpture preserved in Nicosia includes the foliage capitals in the nave and trac- eried gable of the north porch of St. George of the Latins. The Franciscan Church dating from around 1300 and the Carmelite Church of St. Mary from later in the fourteenth century also retain Gothic-style tracery and carving. In addition, these churches were decorated with wall paintings. Under Venetian rule (1489-1571), the royal palace at Famagusta was rebuilt with a Renaissance façade. Other carved work on Cyprus included incised stone funerary slabs of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, continuing a tradition known on the mainland of Outremer in the thirteenth century. The tombstone of Arnato Visconti (d. 1341) in St. Sophia shows him standing below a canopy that mirrors the decoration on the exterior porch.
The island’s Byzantine cultural traditions were retained in wall paintings and painted icons. Examples include the wall paintings in the Church of the Panagia Arakiotissa at Lagoudera in 1192, attributed to the painter Theodore Apseudis, who signed his work at the Encyleistra of the hermit Neophytus at Paphos (1183), as well as the early thirteenth-century wall paintings from the Church of St. The- monianos near Lysi (now in the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas). But other thirteenth-century work shows features of acculturation between East and West, which by this stage was common throughout the eastern Mediterranean. The wall paintings at the Church of the Virgin at Moutoullas (1280) are a good example. Icon painting developed along similar lines. Particularly characteristic is the raised gesso technique, imitative of the golden metalwork that decorated certain Byzantine icons. An early example using this technique is an icon of an angel from the Chrysostomos monastery near Koutsouvendis, which probably originally formed part of a larger ensemble. Bright colors were also used, particularly scarlet red. Latin patrons commissioned indigenous painters to produce icons of various types, several of which in the second half of the thirteenth century were large-scale panels, probably made for altarpieces in Latin churches. A panel with the seated Virgin and Child, with scenes from the life of the Virgin on either side, from the Church of St. Cassianos includes portraits of the donors. These were apparently Dominican monks, indicating that it was probably made for a monastery of the Dominican Order.
Other panels with Eastern saints and Greek inscriptions would have been made for Greek Orthodox or other Eastern churches. An example is a very large panel of St. Nicholas from, and made for, the Church of St. Nicholas (Nikolaos tis Stegis) near Kakopetria, which is now in the Byzantine Museum of the Archbishop Makarios III Foundation in Nicosia; in it the saint is flanked by scenes of his life, with figures of the donors praying to him. They include a Western knight, his wife, and their daughter. There is no contradiction here, especially given that intermarriage was common between Franks and indigenous Greeks, a practice documented from the fourteenth century. Portraits in church wall paintings give further information about these families. Several were of women, as in the narthex portraits in the church at Asinou from around 1333. Donor portraits became particularly popular on icons from the fourteenth century: the earliest dated example is that of a Greek donor on an icon at Moutoullas of St. John the Baptist conversing with Christ; this individual has been identified as the donor of the wall paintings of the church at Moutoullas in 1280.
Sites of veneration were developed in Cyprus, some with links with the Holy Land and Syria, and these provided a focus for works of art. These included the cult center of St. Marina, a saint from Antioch. Also famous was the miracle- working icon of the Mother of God at the monastery of Kykkos. Although covered over today, the icon is known from numerous copies of the same type in Cyprus, Sinai, Sicily, and southern Italy, from the late thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. They proliferated in Cyprus in the Marathasa Valley following the rebuilding of Kykkos after the fire of 1365, with the help of the Lusignan ruler Queen Eleanor of Aragon. The type shows the bare-legged kicking Christ child in the arms of his mother, holding a scroll in his right hand and the scarlet veil that falls over his mother’s headdress in the other. The oldest version (from Sinai) has Christ in Glory with saints and prophets around the central figure of the Virgin and Child. It dates from the early twelfth century and is probably from Constantinople.
Cyprus saw an influx of refugees fleeing from the mainland after the fall of Acre to the Mamlūks in 1291. The multicultural community of the island retained links with the mainland, as is evidenced by links with wall paintings in churches in Syria and Lebanon. More refugees arrived after the fall of Constantinople in 1453, which affected the last phase of Lusignan rule on the island (1374-1489). Painting in the royal chapel at Pyrga of 1421, built by King Janus and his wife Charlotte of Bourbon, is based on Cypriot Byzantine models. But those in the Church of St. Herakleidos in the monastery of St. John Lampadistes at Kalopanagiotes, which can be dated to shortly after 1453, show the impact of the newcomers. The nave paintings are attributable to an artist from a Byzantine center who adapted his work to suit a Western patron who had probably recently converted to Greek Orthodoxy. The paintings in the narthex, of the same or slightly later date, are probably by a painter from Constantinople. The shift to Byzantine style in this later church is in line with the influence of Helena Palaiologina, a niece of Emperor Constantine IX Palaiologos and wife of King John II of Cyprus.
Other arts flourished in Cyprus. One example of manuscript illumination is the so-called Hamilton Psalter (MS Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett 78 A.9), which is a bilingual Latin and Greek psalter of the late thirteenth or early fourteenth century, with early Palaiologan Byzantine-style illustrations at the beginning of the book, and marginal illustrations throughout the text.
Textiles were manufactured in Cyprus. One example is an antependium (now in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Pisa), that is, a panel of lavishly embroidered cloth to be placed in front of the altar, which has recently been dated to 1325 and attributed to Nicosia, depicting the Coronation of the Virgin flanked with other scenes.
Locally produced glazed pottery appeared in Cyprus from the early thirteenth century and remained common during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, being produced at workshops at Paphos until the end of the fourteenth century and at the Lapithos workshops thereafter. It is likely that such glazed ware was originally introduced from the Syrian mainland.