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The Iconography of Early Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Single Sheet Paintings

März 15, 2023 @ 7:00 pm9:00 pm

Invitation to an Online Lecture

The Iconography of Early Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Single Sheet Paintings


Suzanne Compagnon MA MA

(University of Vienna)


Wednesday, 15 March 2023, 19:00 (Turkish time; GMT +3)


The talk presents some results of the author’s on-going PhD project on clothed figures and representation in Ottoman book painting with a focus on the single sheets attributed to the Ottoman artists ʿAbdülcelīl Çelebī Levnī (d. 1732) and ʿAbdüllah Buhārī (active between 1726 and 1745). These images depict figures in elaborate attire, generally alone against a generic background. The artworks have mainly survived as part of late eighteenth-century Ottoman albums. Their subject matter has only received cursory attention resulting in a rather superficial understanding of the iconography. The author’s PhD thesis offers a systematic analysis of this iconography, summarised in the present talk. The figures’ attire allows us to identify various stock characters. These evoke urban elite culture and, in some cases, connections to urban literary culture can be reconstructed. The paintings in the Levnī style clearly reinvest pictorial motifs popularised by Ottoman single sheet paintings in the seventeenth century. Their centrality as an iconographic source is well illustrated by the few depictions of Ottoman officials. These draw on seventeenth-century types developed outside of court workshops rather than on those of illustrated court histories. The paintings in the Levnī style are employed as a source for those in the Buhārī style, but the latter also reveal a direct engagement with seventeenth-century single sheets. The artists also represent novel subject matters. The talk explores these processes of iconographic renewal, foregrounding the creative agency reflected by the artworks.


Suzanne Compagnon is a PhD student at the University of Vienna, currently a visiting scholar at Sabancı University and the Orient-Institut Istanbul on a Marietta Blau scholarship. She specializes in early modern arts of the book with a focus on the Ottoman Empire. Her research interests also include textile and dress history as well as aesthetics and sensory history. Previously, she received her M.A. from the University of Vienna in Art History and her undergraduate M.A. from the University of Edinburgh in Arabic and History of Art.


März 15, 2023
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm


Andrea Selimoğlu
+90 – 212 293 60 67
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Orient-Institut Istanbul
Şahkulu Mah., Galip Dede Cad. No. 65
Beyoğlu, İstanbul 34421 Turkey
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+90 212 293 60 67
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