Gorgeous wall paintings recounting the Crusader history of Jerusalem were recently exposed when the sisters of Saint-Louis Hospital, near the Old City, were organizing the storerooms. In addition, a burst water pipe in the building revealed drawings that were concealed beneath modern plaster and paint.
Israel Antiquities Authority conservators came to the hospital and assisted the sisters with ‘first aid’ in cleaning and stabilizing some of the wall paintings. The paintings are in the style characteristic of monumental church decorations of the nineteenth century, with close attention to small details and motifs drawn from the world of medieval art.
Saint-Louis Hospice – an impressive two story structure built in the Renaissance and Baroque style – is situated next to the Jerusalem municipal building. The place is named after St. Louis IX, King of France (the leader of the Seventh Crusade 1248–1254 CE) and was opened to the public in 1896.
The hospital is run by the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition.
The hospital was founded at the initiative of a French count, Comte Marie Paul Amédée de Piellat – who was also an artist. He painted the walls and ceiling of the building with enormous works featuring Crusader knights in their armor and wearing swords. Alongside these giant figures he painted the heraldry of the French knights’ families, wrote their names and noted their genealogy.