The Turk and Islam in the Western Eye, 1450–1750 : Visual Imagery before Orientalism book cover
1st Edition

The Turk and Islam in the Western Eye, 1450–1750
Visual Imagery before Orientalism

Edited By

James G. Harper

ISBN 9781138248311
Published September 30, 2016 by Routledge
342 Pages

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Book Description

Unprecedented in its range - extending from Venice to the New World and from the Holy Roman Empire to the Ottoman Empire - this collection probes the place that the Ottoman Turks occupied in the Western imaginaire, and the ways in which this occupation expressed itself in the visual arts. Individual essays in this volume examine specific images or groups of images, problematizing the 'truths' they present and analyzing the contexts that shape the presentation of Ottoman or Islamic subject matter in European art. The contributors trace the transmission of early modern images and representations across national boundaries and across centuries to show how, through processes of translation that often involved multiple stages, the figure of the Turk (and by extension that of the Muslim) underwent a multiplicity of interpretations that reflect and reveal Western needs, anxieties and agendas. The essays reveal how anachronisms and inaccuracies mingled with careful detail to produce a "Turk," a figure which became a presence to reckon with in painting, sculpture, tapestry and printmaking.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction, James G. Harper; Part I Venice: The sultan's true face? Gentile Bellini, Mehmet II, and the values of verisimilitude, Elizabeth Rodini; Black Turks: Venetian artists and perceptions of Ottoman ethnicity, Paul H.D. Kaplan; 'And the moon has started to bleed'; apocalypticism and religious reform in Venetian art at the time of the Battle of Lepanto, Benjamin Paul; Punchinello meets the Turk: Giambattista Tiepolo's chorus of oriental spectators and the transformation of cultural otherness, Johanna Fassl. Part II Italy and Europe: Bipolar behavior: Ferdinando I de'Medici and the East, Christopher Pastore; Dürer's depictions of the Ottoman Turks: a case of 'early modern orientalism'?, Heather Madar; East is East: images of the Turkish nemesis in the Hapsburg world, Larry Silver; The barbarous and noble enemy: pictorial representations of the Battle of Lepanto, Christina Strunck. Part III Beyond Europe: Picturing the Ottoman threat in 16th-century New Spain, María Judith Feliciano; The Frank in the Ottoman eye of 1583, Baki Tezcan; Selected secondary bibliography; Index.

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James G. Harper (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania) is Associate Professor of Renaissance and Baroque Art at the University of Oregon and a fellow of Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies.


'This collection offers a rich and multifaceted history of Islam and the Turk as seen through European eyes. Rendering the centrality of the "Turk" to European self-fashioning over three centuries the essays gathered here make an important contribution to an already very lively field of scholarship in an engaging, provocative and highly readable way.' Nebahat Avcioglu, Columbia University's Global Center in Paris, France

'This well-knit collection on the representation of the "Turk" is unique in that it includes eleven studies of Venetian, Tuscan, German, Flemish, Danish and New Spanish paintings and literature, and concludes with an Ottoman view of the "Europeans." By focusing on 1450-1750, the period before the beginning of Orientalism, James G. Harper, the editor, shows how Euro-Christian representations of the "Turk," which stemmed from political and military confrontations, assumed visual importance in churches, monasteries, and other ecclesiastical environments. This religious art of war defined the imaginaire of early modern societies, and continues to cast its shadow on our world today.' Nabil Matar, University of Minnesota, USA

'An excellent volume in Ashgate’s ’Transculturalisms, 1400-1700’ series, this collection looks at the image of the Ottoman world and Islam in the early-modern period... An important volume.' European Review of History

'... much useful material.' English Historical Review

'The highly nuanced essays in this excellent volume provide a clear sense of the divergent visual attitudes towards Europe's most significant other in this period ... The Turk and Islam in the Western Eye is a welcome addition to recent scholarship on the Renaissance, the Mediterranean, and east-west cultural interaction.' European History Quarterly