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Prints and Drawings
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Artist: Pieter Coecke van Aelst, Flemish, 1502–1550

The Life of the Turks

n.d.

Connected set of 10 woodcuts

sheet: 29.2 × 41.8 cm (11 1/2 × 16 7/16 in.)
sheet: 30.5 × 46.4 cm (12 × 18 1/4 in.)
sheet: 31 × 45.4 cm (12 3/16 × 17 7/8 in.)
sheet: 30.3 × 46.6 cm (11 15/16 × 18 3/8 in.)
sheet: 29.8 × 45.8 cm (11 3/4 × 18 1/16 in.)
sheet: 29.6 × 46
Everett V. Meeks, B.A. 1901, Fund
1965.9.6a-j
A noted designer of tapestries, Pieter Coecke was sent in 1533 to the Ottoman court in Istanbul by a Brussels tapestry firm to produce a set of cartoons for the sultan. The tapestries were never executed, but Coecke’s designs were eventually converted into a woodcut frieze of seven scenes, drawn on ten blocks, published posthumously. The figural pilasters maintain the link to the language of tapestries, where they would have read as a spatial foil and acted as borders to the individual pieces. The sultan appears at the end of the sequence, as in Andrea Mantegna’s Triumph of Caesar. The sultan is shown on horseback with his warriors, riding through the expanse of the Hippodrome of Istanbul, with its obelisk of Theodosius and skyline of mosques, including the Byzantine Hagia Sophia in the right central distance.
Geography: 
Made in Flanders
Status: 
Not on view
Culture: 
Flemish
Period: 
16th century
Classification: 
Works on Paper - Prints
Provenance: 

C. G. Boerner

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.