That most excellent Greek heraldic artist, John P. Vlazakis, whom I have mentioned in the past here and here, has another heraldic art exhibition on September 25 in Rhodes, Greece.
As you may have guessed, the title of the exhibition is “Magni Magistri” and the topic is, of course, the Grand Masters. Being in Rhodes, it’s about the Grand Masters of Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta.
In the long history of the Order, there have been many Grand Masters. Vlazakis, in this event, has focused on the period 1305 through 1522 and has emblazoned the arms of all the Grand Masters of that served during that time.
But, you might ask, why just those two centuries when the Order was established in 1099 by the celebrated Blessed Gerard and it is still in existence today?
The answer is simple, when you look at its long history and location. It was in 1305 that Foulques de Villaret became Grand Master of the Order, succeeding his uncle Guillaume de Villaret. It was Foulques that conquered Rhodes in 1308-1309 and moved the Order’s headquarters to the island.
In the same vein, it was Philippe Villiers de L’Isle-Adam (Grand Master 1521-1534) that lost the island of Rhodes to the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1522. The nitpickers amongst you may say that it was actually 1523 that the capitulation occured (in Crete, by the way) but, my answer would be that it was January 1, 1523 so Vlazakis’ date is still correct!
As a side note, Villiers de L’Isle-Adam was the first Grand Master to rule over the Order based in Malta.
Back to the exhibition however.
The exhibit will open on September 25 and will run through October 23, under the auspices of the Rhodes Museum of Modern Greek Art and the Heraldic and Genealogical Society of Greece, at the “D’Amboise” gate of the old city. In addition to the coats of arms of all the Grand Masters of the period, Vlazakis will also exhibit miniatures and illuminated manuscripts, all inspired by the Middle Ages.
If you happen to be in Rhodes at the time, it will be well worth your while to pay it a visit.
Note: The images accompanying this post are from the exhibit.