Images of Turks in Southern Europe and Beyond
(15th – 18th Centuries)
edited by Borja Franco Llopis and Laura Stagno
collana: Arti visive e patrimonio culturale
area tematica: Umanistica
ISBN: 978-88-3618-088-2 (versione a stampa)
ISBN: 978-88-3618-089-9 (versione e-book)
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This book presents instances of how the interrelations between Christians and Muslims were negotiated in the field of images and objects in the Mediterranean area during the Early Modern age. A short introductory chapter gathers reflections on the key terms of “alterity” and “image”. The first section focuses on the representations of a variety of encounters with religious otherness. The starting point is the study of a 15th-century Flemish illuminated fabula, followed by the analysis of a completely different narrative, directly rooted in a harsh reality, conveyed by the documents recording the Barbary corsairs’ incursions in Liguria; a third essay illustrates how the image of a Christian leader, king John V of Portugal, was shaped by his fleet’s victorious clash with the Turks. The central section of the book is dedicated to geographically diverse case studies in the circulation of Turkish artefacts in western Europe – with a focus on Genoa – and in the creation and dissemination of the Ottomans’ image. An itinerary through the rich body of textual and visual sources devoted to the Turks’ everyday life, customs and costumes, produced in the West since the 15th century, is offered, as well as in-depth studies of specific themes: the fortune of the series of paintings portraying the “Great Turks” in Lombardy, the semantic function of the Ottomans included in 16th-century Venetian artworks depicting “suppers” from the Gospels, the visual narratives provided by the xylographies illustrating the Croatian epic poem Judith by Marko Marulić. In the last part of the book, essays zoom in on occurrences of Ottomans’ images in connection to explicitly religious Catholic contexts. A chapter deals with ex votos with seafaring subjects, in which images of Turkish enemies loom large, while the last two contributions address themes connected to the role of the Jesuits: the iconography of Saint Francis Xavier, in which the images of the Ottomans become templates for the depiction of other non-Christians, and the description of Turks in Early Modern Chinese texts, either brought to Europe by Jesuit missionaries or produced by them for the use of the Chinese they tried to convert.
Borja Franco Llopis is Associate Professor at the UNED, Madrid, and Principal Investigator of the research group “Before Orientalism: Images of Otherness in the Early Modern Mediterranean”, as well as member of the COST Action “Islamic Legacy” (www.is-le.eu). He has published many journal articles, book chapters and monographs, including Pintando al converso: la imagen del morisco en la peninsula ibérica (Madrid, Cátedra, 2019); he has also coedited Another Image: Muslim and Jews Made Visible in Christian Iberia and Beyond (Leiden, Brill, 2019), and Lepanto and Beyond (Leuven University Press, 2021).
Laura Stagno is Associate Professor at the University of Genoa. She takes part in a number of Italian and international research projects (including the COST Action “Islamic Legacy”). She has published extensively on Genoese art and the Doria family’s vast patronage (including the monograph Giovanni Andrea Doria (1540-1606). Immagini, committenze, rapporti politici e culturali tra Genova e la Spagna, 2018), and on images of the Ottomans in Genoese art, a theme to which she has recently devoted papers presented at conferences, articles and essays, published in “Il Capitale Culturale”, 2018, Muslim and Jews made visible, Brill 2019, and Lepanto and Beyond (Leuven University Press, 2021), which she coedited with Borja Franco Llopis.