Painting of most powerful Ottoman woman goes on sale
A rare portrait of Hürrem Sultan, a chief consort and legal wife of Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, has been put up for sale in New York for $206,000, according to auction house Sotheby’s.
The painting, which will be sold on Oct. 23 as the centerpiece of an auction that also includes prominent works of Islamic art, was made by Venetian Renaissance painter Tiziano Vecellio, also known as Disciple de Titian, in the 15th century.
In the painting, measuring 49.5 x 38.5 centimeters, Hürrem Sultan is seen wearing a red embroidered dress, a headdress worn by the sultan’s wives, and pearl earrings.
The lavish parade of pearls on Hürrem Sultan’s headdress is believed as an allusion to the prominent pearls on a fabulous helmet that Sultan Suleiman purchased from Venetian goldsmiths in 1532.
Among the works of art to be sold at the auction are two oil paintings of Mihrimah Sultan, the daughter of Sultan Suleiman.
Snatched into slavery from her home in what is now western Ukraine, Hürrem Sultan, known as Roxelana until that time, entered the harem in an Istanbul palace and quickly became the favorite woman of Sultan Suleiman.
She became the most powerful and influential woman in Ottoman history as well as a prominent and controversial figure during the era known as the Sultanate of Women.
Hürrem Sultan remained in the sultan’s court for the rest of her life, having six children with him, including the future sultan, Selim II.
As one of the most famous historical figures in Ottoman history, Hürrem Sultan is usually depicted as an ambitious and power-hungry character that manipulated the Ottoman sultan.
She is also the one with the most portraits in her name in the Ottoman Empire.