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Süleyman the Magnificent and the Representation of Power in the Context of Ottoman-Hapsburg-Papal Rivalry
By Gülru Necipoğlu
The Art Bulletin, Vol. 71, No. 3 (1989)
Abstract: This article explores issues of cross-cultural communication raised by the Ottoman court’s intense patronage of European artistic talent during the early part of Suleyman the Magnificent’s reign (1520-1566). It situates the network of patronage of a group of regalia made in Venice for the sultan and a related project for royal tapestries within the context of Ottoman-Hapsburg-papal rivalry. Displayed as parade accessories and stage props in ostentatious ceremonies, these non-Islamic royal status symbols were primarily aimed at communicating Ottoman imperial claims to a European audience through a Western discourse of power. They became publicized through the popular media of European prints, news pamphlets, plays, and songs, which won the sultan his title of “Magnificent” in the West. The article concludes with an analysis of mid-sixteenth-century changes in cultural orientation that abruptly brought this lively chapter in East-West artistic relations to an end.