29 June 2010

Crusader period fresco

If you've read this blog at all in the past few years, you'd know my love (obsession?) with mosaics and murals. Well I think we can slip frescoes in to that mix as well. Cannot wait to see this next spring in person! From the Israel Antiquities Authority press office:

An enormous impressive wall painting (fresco) that was discovered in excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Monastery of Miriam in the Gethsemane courtyard in Jerusalem will be displayed for the first time when the renewed Israel Museum opens its doors to the public on July 26, 2010. 

In 1999 the Israel Antiquities Authority conducted salvage excavations in Nahal Kidron, next to the Garden of Gethsemane, under the direction of Jon Seligman, the Jerusalem region archaeologist. The excavations uncovered several buildings dating to the twelfth century that were part of the “Abbey of St. Mary of the Valley of Jehoshaphat”, most of which had been destroyed by Saladin. But to the excavators’ surprise a nine meter long wall that was decorated with a painting of breathtaking beauty was exposed in one of the rooms. 

According to the report, this 12th century fresco is the largest painting ever to come out of an archaeological excavation in the country, measuring 9 meters in length and 2.7 meters in height! This fresco is also extremely rare because very few wall paintings have survived from the Crusader churches that were built in Jerusalem during the Crusader period. The excellent quality of the painting was in all likelihood the workmanship of master artists and the vibrant colors reflect the importance of the abbey in the twelfth century, which was under the patronage of the Crusader queen Melisende.

Read the full article here.

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