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Osman II

Unknown1640s

Tallinn City Museum

Tallinn City Museum

This is a full-length life-size portrait of the Turkish Sultan Osman II. The portrait was donated by two Lübeck merchants Adolph and Hinrich Cahl in 1640 as an entrance gift to the Brotherhood of Blackheads. The painting bears also the names and coat of arms of the donators. Text on the painting: "SOLTAN HOTTOMANNUS, TURCARUM IMPERATOR".

In the property lists of the brotherhood this was painting listed as a portrait of a Turkish sultan. The identification of the sitter of the portrait as Osman II has been made quite recently, only some 20 years ago, when the copper-cut half portrait of Osman II by the German engraver Lucas Kilian was established as the prototype for the portrait. This portrait type by Kilian, originally made in 1622, was widely spread later in the 17th century, as its simplified versions can be found in several of the 17th century history books – for example Mattheus Merians illustrated cronicle Theatrum Europeum, published in 1643.
The portrait painting of the sultan, similar to the other 17th century portraits in the brotherhood’s collection is not signed, so the painter of the portrait remains unknown. But it was evidently painted by a local painter like the other 17th century portraits in the brotherhood’s collection and evidently on the basis of a print.
It most likely that the painter or the donator had to choose an example for the painting among the prints that were available here in Tallinn – and there were no other prints depicting a sultan of Turkey at hand.

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