A Cameo Carving of Barbarossa


A Cameo Carving of Barbarossa, Italy, Probably Venice, 16th Century

İtalya’da yapılmış Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa’ya ait bir figür, 16.yüzyıl

the agate finely carved, depicting Barbarossa wearing a large turban 5.2cm. height.

Arts of the Islamic World
09 APRIL 2014 | 10:30 AM BST | LONDON

Estimate 60,000 — 70,000 GBP
Estimate 100,458 — 117,201 USD

Khayr al-Din (Khidir) Pasha, known as Barbarossa, and whose reputation spanned infamy and authority, was integral to the establishment of Ottoman maritime dominance in the Mediterranean. He was a hero to the Ottoman Empire, and both feared and respected by the Christians around the Mediterranean, known not only as a fearsome admiral but as a man of generosity and prudence (El, IV, p.1155-58).

Owing to his status as well as his distinctive features, Barbarossa’s portrait often appears on printed woodcuts, paintings, and more rarely, on cameos such as the present example. The height of his notoriety was reached as a result of Charles V’s attack and capture of Tunis in 1535, which stimulated a great demand for portraits of the protagonists of whom Barbarossa was amongst the most important (Klinger and Raby 1989, p.51). This particular depiction, showing him at a slight angle, was probably inspired by a famous print by the Venetian artist Agostino Veneziano, dated 1535, which brings out his ‘penetrating’ gaze and ‘ferociously’ bristling beard and moustache (see Süleyman the Magnificent, exh. catalogue, New York, 1987, no.5, p.52).

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