Next thing I knew, I was sitting for days in the dark behind a pillar with a flashlight stuck in my hair, telling a diverse parade of perfectly fascinating people from all over the world about the Crusader Crosses and the Fourth Crusade. A guide came along, trailed by a large group of English speakers, and excitedly told us that in 28 years he’s never seen these particular crosses. “You are so lucky,” he said. And how! I get to be here and draw this:
I slaved over this drawing and despaired of ever getting it right. There’s so much detail, and it’s all so dim. It took about fifteen hours. The crosses here have no lead and are far down on the wall side of the pillar. I found them by feeling around and using my little flashlight. Notice that there are bits of the dark shiny original surface left on the crosses as decoration, and that the two crosses are linked by a bit of it. Like two names. Are we looking at a Crusader Bromance here? Even a Romance is possible: ancient Romans had the martyred gay soldier couple Ss Sergius and Bacchus as patrons. Why not Crusaders?
We’ll never know. All that is certain is that someone carved these, and took the time to do it neatly and carefully. Here’s a shot of the entire composition, which I didn’t notice until well into the drawing. There are four: our two linked ones at the bottom, a deeply incised stick cross in the middle, sort of pouring out of a very deep hole, and the top one which is forever just coming into being out of the marble. I find this one magical.
“Politicians, ugly buildings and whores, all become respectable if they last long enough,” said John Huston’s raddled old crook in Chinatown, and so it is with graffiti. More here!