Ottoman sultan’s iconic portrait displayed in Istanbul
A rare portrait of Suleiman I, the longest-reigning Ottoman sultan known as the Magnificent Suleiman, has been put up on display for Turkish people after it was donated to the Istanbul Municipality by an anonymous citizen who bought the artwork at an auction in London.
Showing the portrait to reporters during an inauguration at the temporary exhibition hall of the municipality building in Istanbul’s Saraçhane quarter at first, Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu later hung it next to the painting of Mehmed II, which was made by Italian artist Gentile Bellini in 1480.
Explaining the features of the 16th-century work, İmamoğlu announced that two very valuable portraits would be exhibited in an art museum, which is currently under construction in the historic Haliç Shipyard.
The painting of the sultan who ruled the Ottoman Empire for nearly a half-century was formerly part of a family collection in France since the 19th century.
The portrait was on offer for collectors in live bidding starting at 80,000 pounds ($110,000) at famed auction house Sotheby’s, but the sale price nearly tripled, reaching 350,000 pounds ($481,000) in the end.
According to prominent art experts, the painting opens a window onto a narrative of artistic exchanges between Venice and the Ottomans in the 1530s.