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Oils, Dec 2008
Imaginary portrait of Jacques de Molay. The 23rd and last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, a heartbroken but defiant old soldier. The last leader of Christendom to attempt to rekindle the Crusading spirit and to attempt to recover the Holy Land.
His Order was smeared and distroyed by the Christian powers that it had served faithfully for two centuries. His brethren were tortured in order to secure confessions of heresy, the one charge to which the Templars were vulnerable. Those Templars who subsequently revoked these confessions and affirmed the Order's innocence and honour were declared 'relapsed heretics'. They were burned at the stake, by command of those clerics and inquisitors subserviant to the French king Philip the Fair. Jacques de Molay himself faced this unspeakable fate on 18 March 1314, having repudiated the slanders against his already-abolished Order. After this the last Grand Master, and the Knights Templar in general, became the stuff of myth.