Sotheby’s Auctions Portraits of Ottoman Sultans


London’s Sotheby’s has put 17th-century portraits, including Ottoman sultans and Amir Timur (Tamerlane), the founder of the Timurid Empire, up for sale for an online auction. The “Royal & Noble” series, featuring the portraits of Ottoman sultans, is open for auction until January 20.

“Most of the artwork and objects in this year’s Royal & Noble Sale were found far from where they were created and actually intended, but now they sit together, presented here again at the light and await the next chapter in their extraordinary stories,” Sotheby’s wrote for the auction series.

Portraits of Ottoman sultans sold at auction by Sotheby’s, from left to right, Bayezid I, Bayezid II, Mehmed I and Murad II. (ADH)

According to a statement from the famous auction house, the portraits of the Ottoman Sultan and Timur in the auction series are based on the Giovio series, which is a set of rulers and statesmen brought together by the 16th-century Italian Renaissance historian and biographer Paolo Giovio (1483-1552). The series featured works on 484 notable figures, and Giovio built a museum at Lake Como specifically to house them. Sotheby’s has advised that the Giovio series has been damaged and not intact, but copies made for Cosimo I de’ Medici, the second Duke of Florence, between 1552 and 1568 are housed in the prominent Uffizi Gallery museum in Florence in Italy.

The paintings include portraits of the Ottoman sultans Suleiman I – also known as Suleiman the Magnificent, Bayezid I – also known as Bayezid the Thunderbolt, Bayezid II, Murad II, Mehmed I, also known as Mehmed Çelebi, and Amir Timur. The auction house gave details of the history of the paintings: “These portraits were probably purchased by William Kerr (1605-1675), the third Earl of Lothian, and hung in the great hall of the Newbattle Abbey from the 17th to the beginning of the 20th century. »

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