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Portrait genre in Jean-Baptiste Vanmour's creativity (1671-1737)

o. V. Nefedova


Work is presented by department of foreign art of scientific research institute of the theory and history of the fine arts of the Russian Academy of Arts.

The research supervisor - the doctor of art criticism E.D. Fedotova

In article works of the Flemish artist Jean-Baptiste Vanmour, in particular his works of a portrait genre are considered. The artist who lived in Istanbul more than 30 years left behind priceless heritage - art certificates which can also be characterized as historical illustrations of many aspects of life of Ottoman society of the 18th century: from diplomatic receptions in the Topkapi Palace to plots from life of the multinational Istanbul population in "the period of tulips" - time of government of the sultan Ahmed III from 1703 to 1730 quite so was called. The gallery of portraits of residents of Istanbul published also in the form of collection of prints was the most known art series of the painter. Creativity Mess had noticeable impact on the European art of the XVIII-XIX centuries. The artist more than any other European painter, influenced formation of an image of east sultanate in Europe.

O. Nefedova


The article is devoted to the portrait genre in the art of Jean-Baptiste Vanmour, a Flemish artist who lived in Istanbul for more than 30 years and left a very important heritage of paintings that can be considered as historically accurate illustrations of all aspects of the 18th-century Ottoman life - from diplomatic ceremonies in the Ottoman court to everyday events in the life of Istanbul&s multinational society during the Tulip Era - the reign of Sultan Ahmed III (1703-1730). Vanmour&s most famous series of paintings portrayed Istanbul residents; that series was later issued as a collection of engravings. The artist&s works had a significant impact on European art during both 18th and 19th centuries, as many European artists often resorted to the engravings and other artworks of Vanmour as to the only trustworthy source of the Ottoman imagery.

In the letters the contemporary of Jean-Baptiste Vanmour, lady Mary Uortli Montagyu, being in Istanbul, wrote: "The special pleasure is given here to me by reading notes about travel to the countries of Levant which in the majority are very far from reality and are full of absurdity, and are for me true entertainment. They will not miss an opportunity to give characteristic of local women whom they, of course, never saw, to argue deeply about mind of husbands in whose company they never happened to be allowed, and, of course, to give the detailed description of mosques where they did not dare to glance even one eye" [3, river 104]. The fair sarcasm of the noble lady indirectly confirms the importance and importance of creative heritage of Jean-Baptiste Vanmour who was an artist-biographer and the direct witness of life of the Ottoman Empire 18th century, and left behind priceless heritage - art certificates which can also be characterized as historical illustrations of many aspects of life of Ottoman society of the 18th century: from diplomatic receptions in the Topkapi Palace to plots from

lives of the multinational Istanbul population in "the period of tulips" - time of government of the sultan Ahmed III from 1703 to 1730 of Jean-Baptiste Van-moura quite so was called it is possible by the right to consider the founder of the direction of orientalism in the fine arts of an age of Education. The marquis Charles de Ferriol the baron д&Аржантель (1637/52-1722), the French aristocrat appointed the envoy at the Ottoman yard at the end of the 17th century presumably invited Vanmour in the structure of ambassadorial delegation as the official artist. Thanks to this combination of circumstances Vanmour appeared in Turkey with which he connected all the remained life, having lived more than 30 years there.

The gallery of portraits of residents of Istanbul published in 1712-1713 by request of the marquis de Ferriol in the form of collection of prints under the name "Hundred Engravings with Images of Various People of Levant Written from Nature in 1707 and 1708 by request of Monsieur De Ferriol, the Royal Envoy in Port..." was the most known art series of the painter. Later a series was republished in France in 1714 (second edition)

and 1715 (the third edition in two options - a collection of black-and-white engravings and the separate edition of the painted engravings). Jacques le Eille, and the publisher Gaspard Duchamp was an editor of all editions. The team at least of 9 engravers worked on the edition of engravings of de Ferriol. The popularity of this series exceeded all expectations. There were new editions and the translations into the German, English and Italian languages, copies of engravings Vanmour's followers began to be issued. The collection of engravings of the edition of de Ferriol is of very great importance as historical and as the ethnographic document. Images are collected and submitted according to strict social hierarchy. The first engraving - the image of the sultan, then his wife, members of "house" of the sultan, service staff which number sometimes reached several thousand people. The second part of collection of prints of de Ferriol includes images of the multinational population of the capital. The ethnic list of residents of medieval Istanbul was various, in the city it was possible to meet almost all representatives of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. More through the publication of engravings of de Ferriol the plots from life of the Turkish society and the Ottoman yard extended across the whole Europe, forming an image of the East and east people among the European public for quite long time. Vanmour's works brought by de Ferriol to Paris unfortunately did not remain. There are some one-figured portraits of a similar series which can be attributed to Vanmour's brush presumably. Among them there is "Jew" (private collection), "Imam" and "Janissar" (both are a meeting of oriyentalistsky works of fund of Sung and Inan Kirach, Istanbul), "Mufti", "The woman behind embroidery", Kazasker (all - Reyksmuze-um, Amsterdam). It is also known that not only de Ferriol took away a collection of portraits. Among buyers there were both European travelers, and royal persons, in particular the Swedish king Karl XII. During the stay as its residence in Bender in 1709-1713, in the Turkish territory, nakho-

got to under government of the sultan Ahmed Sh, the monarch paid the attention to bible stories and for their more detailed study and collecting historical material sent three officers: the captain Cornelius Lus, the captain Conrad Spahr and the lieutenant Hans Gillenskijep to Jerusalem, Egypt and Istanbul. The huge collection from more than 300 drawings, 500 medals and also pictures, objects of applied art and even model of the temple of St Helena in Jerusalem became result of their travel continuing from January, 1710 to June, 1711. Officers spent about six weeks in Istanbul. It is documented that one-figured works of Vanmour were a part of a collected collection. The fate of all collection, unfortunately, is tragic, its most part burned down as a result of the attack of the Turkish garrison in January, 1713 on the residence of the Swedish king in Bender as response to deterioration in the relations of the Swedish king with the sultan. From the remained works only five are known: one portrait of the sultan Ahmed Sh of a brush of Vanmour and four one-figured portraits executed by his pupils. All of them, except one, sold at an auction in Stockholm in 2006, are stored in a meeting of library of the university of Uppsala. The sultan's portrait as well as other portraits, demonstrates that along with one-figured costume portraits, Vanmour carried out also portraits of real historical persons. Among them were both the sultan and members of his yard, and the European residents of Istanbul.

Attribution of a horse portrait of the sultan Ahmed III from a meeting of library of the university of Uppsala represents a certain problem. In the catalog of 2000. "Portraits of sultans - representing Osman's house" [6, page 416] authorship of a portrait is attributed to Conrad Spahr that, in our opinion, is a mistake as the captain was not an artist. The picture, apparently, was executed by the European master. Multifigured composite creation of the work, its plastic integrity and also thorough transfer of volume of objects and prospects of space demonstrates to it.

Cloth of a format, quite big for Vanmour (52 x 42 cm). Sultan Ahmed III is represented with the pedestrian servants (sprats) accompanying him. The governor - in ceremonial vestments, with a precious egret on a turban - goes to a Friday prayer. On the background - architectural palace constructions and the mosque. The cloth is very picturesque: elegant figures are dressed in multi-colored clothes of gentle refined shades, shrouded in soft wavy folds of fabrics, traced by thin belilny dabs. The dominating red color is also characteristic of works of Vanmu-r who always used red soil for the cloths. The comparative stylistic analysis with other works of Vanmour representing the sultan astride a horse confirms a possibility of this our attribution. On a cloth "Sultan Ahmed Highway and its suite" (private collection) the governor is also represented astride a horse accompanied by faithful bodyguards - sprats. The image of carefully written out harness of a horse is completely identical to the image of a harness on a portrait from a meeting of university library in Uppsala. In both pictures the sultan is presented sitting on a body cloth embroidered in gold. On the head - the turban decorated with a precious egret. A distinctive detail of suits of the servants accompanying it are headdresses with wide pen-type plumes. Two other portraits of the sultan Ahmed III are stored in Reyksmuzeum's meeting. One of them represents the governor young, the second - already more elderly, with a gray-haired beard. On both portraits the sultan is written to the utmost against the background of architectural construction with two Janissars on the background. On it - the caftan edged by fur and the turban decorated with a precious egret in a hand - a ceremonial club. In spite of the fact that the sultan specially did not pose for the artist, nevertheless we can assume portrait similarity as Vanmour could see the governor both during various formal diplomatic receptions, and during the shestvovaniye ceremony on a Friday prayer.

Images of the Grand Visier Damad Ibrahim pasha Nevshekhirli (Reyksmuzeum, Amsterdam) appeared in pictures in connection with various events - it is a procession through the area of a hippodrome, a diplomatic reception and also - a separate portrait of the secret governor of the empire. Vanmour also executed a portrait of his son-in-law Mekhmed pasha Kekhyuda (Reyksmuzeum, Amsterdam). Inventory lists of 1817 describe it as Kakhiyu Fur honey which was strangled during the mutiny of 1730 as well as the Grand Visier [4, river 114]. According to the same inventory lists "Portrait Flight of an Efenda" (Reyks-muzeum, Amsterdam), the chief treasurer of the empire is an image of the real historical person holding this post in 1727 [4, river 120]. Vanmour quite could know the treasurer personally as the European ambassadors quite often had to address to office of treasury. The group portrait representing rebels of a revolt the Janissar of 1730 was executed by the artist the same year (Reyks-muzeum, Amsterdam). The leader of a mutiny of the Boss Halili is represented with a sword in a hand. Figures at the left - most likely his closest associate Myuslu Beche, the seller of fruit, and Ali, the seller of coffee. On the background bodies of the killed among which both the Grand Visier, and his son-in-law and also other ministers are visible.

Among one-figured portraits of the historical persons executed by Vanmour there are also several images of the European residents of Istanbul. In particular it is portraits of lady Mary Uortli Montagyu. From two works of Vanmour performed for lady Mary the location of one of them is known is the portrait of "Lady Mary Uortli Montagyu and her son Edward" which is in the collection of the National Gallery of London. The second portrait was exposed twice at Sotheby's auction. Its true location is unknown. Vanmour's work is also "The unknown portrait" (Reyksmuzeum, Amsterdam). This cloth quite big (47 x 33.5 cm), Vanmour, uncharacteristic for other works, the size, at first was in a meeting of Cornelis Kalkoyen, and then his successors till 1817. Big size, and

also its special importance for Kalkoyen who did not leave a portrait for the rest of the natural allow to assume that this image of the historical person, woman, close familiar ambassador. Kalkoyen remained a bachelor until the end of days, but in Istanbul rumors about its communication with the released concubine Beyaz Gül - Béla Rose went [5, river 15]. On "The unknown portrait", the executed Jean Etienne Liotar (Collection of institute of the Netherlands, Race-veyk) who also belonged to Kalkoye - well represented the woman dressed in a rich dress and the caftan edged by fur as well as the unknown on Vanmour's portrait. Some similarity of images portrayed allows to assume that it in a picture of the Flemish artist is really represented Beyaz Gül [5, river 57].

It is necessary to allocate both earlier unknown and not published "Unknown portrait in a garden" (Museum of orientalism, Doha). Portrait of the small size (41 x 29.5 cm). It is one of 6 known signed works of the artist. The skill of execution, proximity of the composite decision to a portrait of lady Mary Uortli Montagyu from a private collection, existence of the signature, allow to make the assumption that it is a custom portrait, and, most likely, the European aristocrat in the Turkish suit as it is improbable that local Turks, generally for the religious reasons, could pose for the artist. The unknown is represented on Vanmour's portrait in all growth against the background of a landscape. It costs proudly, having stuffed up hands for a back. Its imperious look, a derisive half-smile are turned to the viewer. External showiness and solemnity of this pose give it a shade of a certain affectation. The unknown is dressed in a suit of the rich Turk with a yataghan behind the belt decorated with gemstones. On it bright red shalwars, a long shirt from silk striped fabric, the snow-white wrapping-up dressing gown and from above a dark pink camisole with buttons on boards. A half-turn, easy gesture, slightly noticeable mimic movement, a half-smile, the look kind of obscured - represented Vanmu-

rum the image reminds us the representative of "a gallant century". The artist as if conducts with model and with the viewer a game in which mutual understanding is supported by language of hints. It and the author's signature on a stone boulder, and the tube-chubuk leaned against a stone pedestal which perhaps testifies to the relation portrayed to trade in tobacco, and the image of a figure, characteristic of the Western European portrait, against the background of a landscape. Strict three-planned partitioning of space of a picture helps to transfer its depth. The foreground is fixed by a boulder and a stone pedestal at the left and on the right respectively. On an average - the unknown figure. On the background the landscape with the architectural buildings similar to the mosque is represented. In the coloristic solution of a cloth warm colors prevail. The personality portrayed, unfortunately, remains a riddle, but we would like to present results of a research of provenance of a picture as well as to assume a name of the unknown. Researches of provenance allowed to establish that it was in a collection of the French ambassador in Turkey Francois Charl-Rou who in turn got it in the 1930th in Venice, and later was sold at an auction after his death. The found data allow to call among the alleged persons of mister Francis Levet-ta (1700-1764), the English sales agent working for family Radkliff and staying in Istanbul quite long time represented on a portrait. After the death of the father in 1705 Levett long time lived in family Radkliff and presumably since 1711 was trained at them. He arrived in Istanbul in 1718 and, having spent 31 years in Turkey, in 1749 returned back to London [2, river 80]. In Istanbul Levett got habits of the rich Turk, wore traditional Turkish clothes that also helped his trade relations and contacts. Its images are known for two works of Jean Etienne Liotar performed by the artist during his stay in Istanbul, "Mister Levett in the Turkish suit" (1740, Victoria and Albert Museum,

London) and "Portrait of mister Levett and madam Helen Glavani" (1740, Louvre, Paris). Levett's images in Liota-r's works and on Vanmour's portrait have a certain portrait similarity: first of all it is magnificent "Turkish" mustache and slightly prominent eyes. On all portraits Levett is represented in a rich Turkish suit which he wore daily and also with the long Turkish chubuk, as well as on "The unknown portrait in a garden" from the Museum of orientalism in Doha. It is possible that the image of a tube is not accidental, and is a hint on trade activity of Levett as his family was the known dynasty of tobacco businessmen. More free picturesque manner of writing of a cloth, local color zones, when comparing, for example, with "the Portrait of the Boss Halili" (apprx. 1730, Reyksmuzeum, Amsterdam), allow to carry "The unknown portrait in a garden" to the late period of creativity of Vanmour, approximately by 1730 when Levett was about 30 years old. According to records of the Canterbury cathedral archive Francis Levett died on February 26, 1764 in a manor of Ne-fersoul in arrival Uomensuold which at that time belonged to John Uinchesteru, the surgeon from London.

"The era of tulips" ended in 1730 with the bloody mutiny headed yanycha-

Rami whose cause were the discontent of the population with the new taxes imposed by the Supreme vizier Damad Ibrahim pasha Nevshekhirli and the sultan Ahmed III who was under his influence, strengthened by military failures the Janissar in Iran. Pictures with the image of a revolt of rebels - the last of the known works of Vanmour. The artist died on January 22, 1737, and information on this event was published in the French Mercury newspaper: "The French ambassador and all his members of household and also members of the French colony attended the artist's funeral" which took place in Jesuit church in Galatea [1, river 610]. It is the last documentary information on the artist, lived more than 30 years in Istanbul. The artist famous only to a small circle of experts nevertheless had noticeable impact on the European art, in particular on works of such masters of the XVIII-XIX centuries as Karl Van Loo, Jean Etienne Liotar, Francois Bouchez, Jean Honoré Fragonard, Jean Antoine Watteau, William Hogarth, Ruo-zef Mari Vyen, Giovanni Antonio Guardi and Francesco Guardi, Jean August Dominique Ingres and many others. Vanmour more than any other European artist, influenced formation of an image of east sultanate in Europe.


1. Boppe A. Les peintres du Bosphore au XVIIIe siecle. ACR, Paris, 1989. 312 p.
2. Davis R. The Emergences of International Business 1200-1800. London, 1999. 200 p.
3. Montagu M. The Turkish Embassy Letters. London, 2006. 190 p.
4. SintNicolaas E., Bull D, Renda G., Irepoglu G. An Eyewitness of the Tulip Era - Jean-Baptiste Van-mour. Istanbul, 2003. 250 p.
5. The Ambassador, the Sultan and the Artist - an Audience in Istanbul: catalog. Amsterdam, 2003. 30 p.
6. The Sultan&s Portraits - Picturing the House of Osman: catalog. Istanbul, 2000. 576 p.


1. Boppe A. Les peintres du Bosphore au XVIIIe siecle. ACR, Paris, 1989. 312 p.
2. Davis R. The Emergences of International Business 1200-1800. London, 1999. 200 p.
3. Montagu M. The Turkish Embassy Letters. London, 2006. 190 p.
4. Sint Nicolaas E., Bull D., Renda G., Irepoglu G. An Eyewitness of the Tulip Era - Jean-Baptiste Vanmour. Istanbul, 2003. 250 p.
5. The Ambassador, the Sultan and the Artist - an Audience in Istanbul: catalog. Amsterdam, 2003. 30 p.
6. The Sultan&s Portraits - Picturing the House of Osman: catalog. Istanbul, 2000. 576 p.
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