Crusader Murals Discovered In Jerusalem
Ellisha Rader Mannering
A busted water pipe is usually a bad thing, but not when it leads to the rediscovery of amazing artwork. Several nuns in a Jerusalem hospital were organizing some storage rooms when a water pipe burst. The water stripped away the paint and plaster on the walls and revealed paintings of knights, crusaders and other medieval images.
The murals were painted by Count Comte Marie Paul Amédée de Piellat in the late 1800’s. The count was fascinated with knights and Crusaders and believed that he was a descendant of Crusaders. The count often visited Jerusalem and had Saint-Louis Hospice built between 1879 and 1896, naming it after St. Louis IX, a king of France and leader of the Seventh Crusade between A.D. 1248 and 1254.
When the Turkish forces took over the hospital during World War I, they painted the walls black to hide the murals. The murals were forgotten about until the nuns rediscovered them.
The Israel Antiquities Authority is now in charge of cleaning up the area and protecting the murals. They will carefully continue to remove the paint and plaster that had hidden the murals for so long. They will also work on preserving the artwork and are currently looking for funds to help make the restoration of the murals possible.
Once restored, the murals will not likely be open to the public as the facility is still being used as a hospital.
De Piellat had hoped to restore the murals himself and even returned to Jerusalem after the war. While he worked hard to restore many of the murals, the restoration was not complete and De Piellat died in 1925.
Do you think the IAA will be able to raise the funds to restore the rediscovered murals and do you think they should allow the public to view them if they are restored?
Image via Wikimedia Commons