70 works, from Mehmet II to Suleiman the Magnificent
More than 70 objects including a Quran owned by Sultan Mehmet II with a dedication to the king and an important ‘tughra’, the official signature of Suleiman the Magnificent, can be seen in Genoa until December 14 as part of the ”Ottoman Art, 1450 – 1600. Nature and Abstraction: a glimpse beyond the Sublime Porte” exhibition. The venue is Palazzo Lomellino and is promoted by the Bruschettini Foundation for Islamic and Asian Art to raise awareness about the Ottoman Empire, one of the largest and lengthiest ever, lasting 623 years – from 1299 to 1922 – and ranging from the edges of Vienna to Eritrea, from Algeria to Azerbaijan. In 1453, Mehmet II conquered Constantinople and put an end to the Byzantine Empire, while ‘Suleiman the Magnificent’ (1494-1566)presided over the apex of the Ottoman Empire’s military, political and economic power. There were lively exchanges between the East and the West during the years of the empire, in culture, trade, politics, religion and art. The presence of a Republic of Genoa colony in Istanbul bears witness to this fact, and remnants of which can be seen even today in the Galata/Pera area, currently known as Beyoglu.
Curated by the Bruschettini Foundation – a non-profit foundation since 2012 that was set up in the 1980s to promote Asian and Islamic art in Italy – and the exhibition aims to show visitors the art and culture of the period in which the Ottoman Empire was at its greatest. Silks and velvet, silver and gold brocades, rugs, polychromatic ceramics from Iznik and weapons with with helmets and horse headboards, branded with the emblem of St. Irene’s Turkish Imperial Armory. ”We wanted to show a part of the Sublime Porte, as the Ottoman Empire was known,” said Alessandro Bruschettini, the head of the foundation, ”focusing on the art of the period of its greatest glory and how it appeared to those living in those times.” The exhibition is unique and will be held in the 15th-century Palazzo Lomellino, which boasts Bernardo Strozzi’s 17th-century frescoes.
Until January 18, the city’s Palazzo Bianco will also be hosting ”Turquerie. Reflections of Ottoman Art in Genoa”, focusing on Genoa and the Ottoman world between the sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries, bearing witness to the trade and cultural relations between the Sublime Porte and the Old Republic of Genoa.