As a consequence of the Republic of Genoa’s history and role in the fight against the Ottomans, early modern Genoese art offers a wealth of images of the “infidels”, which has not hitherto been mapped. Different typologies of images, executed in a variety of media and presenting diverse iconographies, might be identified. The figures of the enemy par excellence became a component of civic identity images, as shown on the frontispiece of such books as Liguria trionfante delle principali nazioni del mondo (1643) or in grand fresco cycles that celebrated Genoese virtues, where the canon of episodes chosen to signify the heroism of the Genoese included the massacre of the Giustiani youngsters in the island of Chio, by the hand of the “Turks”(the term usually employed at the time to indicate all people under Ottoman rule) . More specifically, the representation of the Turk was a significant element in the construction of the public profile of Andrea Doria and later of his heir, Giovanni Andrea Doria, both “generals of the sea” for the Spanish crown in the 16th century, and in that capacity engaged in a long-term effort to contain and defeat the Ottoman enemy. Representations of the latter were included in works of art commissioned by the Dorias, in such diverse contexts as “all’antica” marble and stucco portraits of Andrea in guise of Roman general, the depiction of the Battle of Lepanto in a detailed series of six large tapestries, and the celebration of the passage of power from Andrea to Giovanni Andrea in a complex allegorical composition. Images of the “infidels” were also part of religious works of art destined to churches, the polychrome sculptures of processional caskets, with their high degree of mimetic and theatrical effect, being a particularly significant case in point. All these representations share the underlying concept of the Turks as the quintessential enemy, which is also at the basis of the visual device of anachronistically representing them as tormentors of Christ and of early Christian martyrs, substituting the image of new enemy to that of the old one (the Jew or the pagan). On the other hand, the series of engravings executed in 1647, based on drawings by Flemish painter Cornelis De Wael (a long-term resident of Genoa), describe the day-to-day life of muslim slaves in the city, portrayed while engaged in various activities connected to the port and to the maintenance of ships, but also while eating their meal and even in the role of dentists, thus contributing to a more nuanced rendition of the perception of “the other” in early modern Genoa.
|Titolo:||Turks in Genoese Art, 16th–18th Centuries: Roles and Images. A First Approach|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2019|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||02.01 - Contributo in volume (Capitolo o saggio)|