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A Janissary “of War” with a Lion (1580’ies)

Janissary with a lion Jacopo Ligozzi

A drawing of a janissary by Jacopo Ligozzi (1547 – 1627). (Now here in the collections of Metropolitan Museum of Art)

This exceptional drawing comes from an album, of which twenty-nine pages are known, twenty in the Uffizi, Florence, and nine others, including this one, in other public and private collections. Ligozzi probably painted these subjects in the very earliest years of his Florentine sojourn, between 1580 and 1585, while working at the court of the Grand Duke Francesco I de’ Medici.

Following the defeat of the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, there was a notable surge in interest in Turkish subjects. Ligozzi never travelled to Turkey himself, and loosely based his drawings on the illustrations in the Venetian edition of the Frenchman Nicolo de’ Nicolay’s book, Le navigationi et viaggi fatti nella Turchia, which was published in Italian, first in Antwerp in 1576 and then in Venice in 1580. Read more…

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