"The Last Templars"

The inspiration and motivation for this painting.
by artist Josephine Maisonet

mp3 audio of "The Last Templars"

On October 13, 1307 in the middle of the night Philip the Fair of France executed a plot to arrest all Knights Templar and confiscate all the Templar's property in France and subsequently charge them with crimes against god and the church.

The Knights Templar, who were warrior monks, were formed in the year 1119 following the first crusade to protect pilgrims from marauding bandits while traveling to the holy lands. The plot was to cause the elimination of the Knights Templar, an organization of over two thousand knights in France to cease to exist. It was a movement that following the support of the pope, spread across Christendom.

Many of the Templars were captured, arrested and executed under the pretense of heresy blackening the order's reputation. But like most best laid plans, they often fall short of total success. Some Templars would survive and evade the purge. Some would go to Scotland in which many claimed that they helped turn the tide for the Scottish in the battle of Bannockburn to defeat the English. Others went to the wild tribes which would in future become Switzerland with their banking system of which the Templars were known for. The Portuguese Knights Templar would become the Knights of Christ - later known for their journeys of discovery under the leadership of Henry the Navigator.

We see in the painting two forlorn mature and seasoned warrior monks – Knights Templar who have avoided capture. Alone in the forest pondering their future, they gaze into the fire in the dead of night. The darkness symbolizing the weight of their despair and the fire of the possibilities before them. The dogs accompany the knights as loyal and dedicated servants.

We see in the foreground the tattered Beauseant, the black and white battle flag, that they were able to salvage - a symbol of their lifetime commitment to the Knights Templar order and to their sacred oaths.