Israel museum fresco 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The largest painting ever to come out of an archeological excavation in Israel
will go on display at the end of July in the newly refurbished Israel Museum,
the Antiquities Authority announced on Tuesday.
Measuring nine meters
long and 2.7 meters high, and still vibrant in color, the fresco is from one of
the walls of the 12th-century Abbey of St. Mary of the Valley of Jehoshaphat in
the Monastery of Miriam.
The Antiquities Authority, under the direction
of regional archeologist Jon Seligman, found the fresco in 1999 during a rescue
excavation in Nahal Kidron, a valley on the eastern side of
“We immediately went out to excavate the sight. It was on the
wall of the monastery – it was going to be destroyed by the sewage line and [we]
took it for safe keeping at the museum,” Seligman told The Jerusalem Post
However, the process of transporting the fresco to the Israel
Museum, as well as repairing and cleaning it took a long time. It took a week to
remove its artistic components section by section and to reconstruct them in the
museum, and four to five months to repair and clean the fresco
“[We had to] cut it into the pieces and reassemble it like a
puzzle,” said Seligman.
The fresco depicts a scene with Jesus sitting in
the center, Mary on his right and John the Baptist on his left. Both are
pleading with Jesus for forgiveness “for the sake of humanity,” the
Authority said in a press release. Two additional pairs of legs are
seemingly belonging to unpictured angels.
Seligman describes the fresco
as also illustrating a vine with acanthus leaves on either side of an
inscription written in Latin from Saint Augustine. It reads: “Who
name of an absent friend, may not at this table as guest attend.”
quote is meant to warn the monastery’s monks to avoid gossiping.
exciting to see this fresco, which was just in the store room,” said
“Now we see its true place. The public can now see what is really an
monument and [have a] unique opportunity to see one of the few frescos
exists in Israel.”