Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Wall painting depicing Jesus, Mary, and John
Abbey of St. Mary of the Valley of Jehosephat, Gethsemane, Jerusalem
Crusader Period, 12th century
Plaster and pigment, fresco and secco techniques
Israel Antiquities Authority
Accession number: IAA 2009-1362
 
 
This is the lower portion of a large wall painting, originally around nine meters high, from a Crusader abbey. Its subject is an iconographic scene called the Deisis (“entreaty” in Greek), which portrays Mary, and John the Baptist interceding with Jesus for the salvation of humanity. Jesus’ feet and part of the cushion on which he sits are visible in the center; Mary’s lower body can be seen on his right and John’s on his left. Two additional pairs of feet alongside those of Mary and John indicate that there were two other figures, possibly angels. The Latin quotation from St. Augustine – “Whoever likes to gnaw at the lives of those absent, will know that there is no place for him at this table”– suggests that the painting decorated a refectory.

Publications:
Seligman, J., "A Crusader Wall Painting from the Abbey of the Virgin Mary in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, Jerusalem" in New Studies in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and its Region IV, ed. D. Amit, et al., Jerusalem, 2010, Hebrew

Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir