Gentile Bellini and the "Great Turk"

Research Seminar

  • Datum: 15.02.2019
  • Uhrzeit: 11:00
  • Vortragender: Victor I. Stoichita
  • Ort: Villino Stroganoff, Via Gregoriana 22, 00187 Rom
  • Kontakt: paulinyi@biblhertz.it
 Gentile Bellini and the "Great Turk"
Documents inform about the wish of Mehmet II, the Conqueror of Constantinople, to be portrayed by a Western painter. Some Italian artists (including Costanzo di Moysis da Ferrara) came to Istanbul in the 1460s and 1470s, but everything would seem to indicate that the sultan did not obtain what he wanted.

In August, 1479, indeed, only shortly after peace with Venice was signed after decades of war, he asked, as part of the negotiations, that "a good painter who knows how to paint portraits" be sent to him. Enter Gentile Bellini.
The Venetian painter stayed for a little over a year (until the end of 1480 or early 1481), during which time the favours bestowed by the sultan were, if we are to believe the sources, prodigious. Several drawings show that the Venetian paid a great deal of attention to everything new he discovered in the streets of Istanbul, and sources refer to several commissions emanating from the seraglio. But the primary result of this visit was the portrait of the sultan, which is now in the National Gallery in London. It is a work of exceptional cultural hybridization, which must be approached and analysed in this light.

Victor I. Stoichita (Bucharest 1949) teaches Early Modern Art History at the University of Fribourg/Switzerland. He is the author of many art historical books translated world-wide, of whom Short History of the Shadow (Reaktion Books 1997; B-format edition 2019) and "The Self-Aware Image" (Cambridge University Press, 1997, revised and updated edition Harvey Miller Publishers, 2015) as well as of an autobiographical novel (Oublier Bucarest, Actes Sud, 2014) winner of the silver and gold medal of the Académie Française.

Scientific Organization: David Zagoury

The event will be documented by photo and video. The images will be used for online media (homepage/facebook) of the Bibliotheca Hertziana.

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