Research Article


DOI :10.26650/iutd.202212   IUP :10.26650/iutd.202212    Full Text (PDF)

From Representation to Imagination: The Battle of Lepanto in European Painting

Naz Defne Kut

This study considers the depiction of the Battle of Lepanto in European art history and how it has changed over time. It aims to show how the main focus of the artists has changed from representing the battle as “it was” to propagating the battle as a “legendary victory” in symbolic paintings. Consequently, over the centuries, the weight of the artistic output has shifted from documentary and artistic paintings that attempted to represent the actual battle via historical accuracy to symbolic ones, motivated by the imagined “Lepanto narrative.”

DOI :10.26650/iutd.202212   IUP :10.26650/iutd.202212    Full Text (PDF)

Tasvirden Tahayyüle: Avrupa Resminde İnebahtı Muharebesi

Naz Defne Kut

Bu çalışma, İnebahtı Muharebesi’nin 1571'den günümüze kadar Avrupalı sanatçılar tarafından nasıl resmedildiğini ve yüzyıllar içinde nasıl tarihsel tutarlılıktan uzak sembolik bir anlatıya dönüştüğünü göstermeyi amaçlamaktadır. Çalışmada, İnebahtı Savaşı’nın Avrupa sanat tarihindeki yerini vurgulamak açısından, tarihsel tutarlılık kaygısıyla yapılan ve bilgilendirme amacı taşıyan gravürlerden, İnebahtı’yı bir deniz savaşı şeklinde resmeden deniz sanatı eserlerinden ve dini mesaj verme amacı taşıyan sembolik resimlerden örnekler sunulmakta ve zaman içinde İnebahtı odaklı sanatsal üretimin ağırlık merkezinin, olanı tasvir eden resimlerden tahayyül edilenin resmedildiği sembolik resimlere doğru nasıl değiştiği tartışılmaktadır.


EXTENDED ABSTRACT


On October 7, 1571, the Mediterranean witnessed one of the most violent and destructive sea battles in its history. The Battle was fought with galleys and galleons belonging to the Ottoman Empire and the major Catholic powers united under the banner of the Holy League. The two fleets encountered one another at the Bay of Lepanto at noon, and in four and a half hours, the Ottoman navy was virtually destroyed. Although eventually the Fourth Ottoman-Venetian War (1570–73) was resolved in favor of the Ottomans, with the Ottoman conquest of Cyprus and Lepanto (İnebahtı, in Turkish) remaining in Ottoman hands, the Holy League’s victory at Lepanto became a symbolic triumph by halting the “unstoppable” Ottoman advancement toward the Western Mediterranean in the 16th century. In European literature and historiography, it became symbolic of the triumph of Catholicism over the “infidel” Ottomans.

Naturally, the Battle immediately became a popular subject among European artists, and in time its influence expanded beyond the geography and time it occurred. Many artists from different periods and places produced commemorative works or paintings even centuries after the Battle took place, using different media of art. Not only the media but also the motives of these productions were various. This paper examines some examples of this artistic heritage, focusing on European engravings, frescoes, and oil-on-canvas paintings over the centuries.

The author primarily analyzes the artworks in accordance to their genres and the motives behind their production. The first group of depictions is titled: “Documentary Representations” and includes maps, engravings, and frescoes made principally with the purpose of documenting the battle as it happened. In these purely descriptive depictions, the chief aim is to document and disseminate the news of the Battle, depicting mostly the formation of the Battle, its ships, and the topography. These versions are mostly produced by 16th century Venetian and Roman engravers with the purpose of passing on the information available at the time about the Battle and therefore serve as avvisi-like broadsheets. The goal was to document the Battle as a contemporary event. Artists such as Antonio Lafreri, Giovanni Francesco Camocio, and Cosimo Bartoli work in consultation with the Battle’s participants, including Marcantonio II Colonna and Monsignor Romegas to represent the actual situations in the Battle. Therefore, their depictions can be considered as essentially actual contemporary representations. However, these avvisi-like broadsheets disappear in later centuries.

The second group consists of “History and Maritime Paintings” and examines the Lepanto theme in the 17th century Northern European artistic movements of the military painting genre. Maritime artists, whose main inspiration was the sea itself and then the naval battles, created a significant number of paintings on the Lepanto, again in a “secular” manner, generally depicting the glorious mariners of the armada of the Holy League and the devastated Ottoman navy among waves in a turbulent sea. From the examples of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age by artists such as Andries Van Eertvelt, Pieter Brünniche, and Johannes Lingelbach, one can observe that the Battle had become a subject for its historical and naval value and served solely artistic purposes. Therefore, although in some of the depictions the effort for accurate portrayal of galleys and topography is apparent, the artistic concerns frequently overcome historical accuracy. Following the artistic fashion, these depictions slowly disappear in the following centuries.

The most enduring theme for the Lepanto art had become the “Symbolic Depictions” dominated by religious propaganda purposes. Considering the fact that the Catholic Church in the 16th century was endeavoring to reestablish its authority and demonstrate its power against all the “infidels,” including the Protestants of the European Reformation and the Muslim Ottomans, in particular, the Holy League’s victory at Lepanto had by then become a significant means to achieve that purpose. In accordance with spirit of the Catholic Counter-Reformation, the Battle’s paintings depicting the glory of the Holy fleet were very favorably received. Many of the European protagonists of the Battle commissioned paintings to immortalize the victory and these served as means of religious propaganda. These commissions focused almost entirely on religious unity and biblical and divine figures, and gave the impression overall that the Holy League had been able to defeat the Ottomans through their Catholic faith. These symbolic works generally portray some form of divine intervention, sometimes Madonna with Child and sometimes the Madonna of the Rosary appearing on top of the clouds over the Holy fleet, leading the Christians to victory. These “legendary” portrayals of the Battle of Lepanto had mainly Catholic propaganda purposes and played a significant part in strengthening the image of the Church. These symbolic depictions that began appearing immediately after the Battle created a traditional visual narrative which survived until today, beginning with the paintings of Renaissance painters such as Giorgio Vasari, Tiziano Vecellio, Jacopo Tintoretto, and Paolo Veronese, and continuing in later centuries with artists from different regions, such as Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Charles Lemiere, and Albino Americo Mazzotta.

Overall, this study aims to show how the Lepanto depictions in European art history changed and developed over the centuries. Among the abundant Lepanto-themed works from different genres in the 16th and the 17th centuries, the documentary representations and examples of maritime art disappeared in the following centuries, leaving the field open for those depictions with a core religious narrative. The symbolic meaning attributed to this Battle in the religiously motivated imaginary depictions created since the 16th century is still alive. As paintings from different genres and eras, and their thematical and iconographical analyses demonstrate, the Battle of Lepanto has always been a popular theme among artists, yet within centuries, the weight of the artistic output shifted from the examples of documentary representations to maritime art pieces and finally to the religiously symbolic versions. 


PDF View

References

  • Angelini, Gianpaolo - Giuseppe Raimondi, La cappella del Collegio Ghislieri di Pavia, Como-Pavia: Edizioni Ibis, 2005. google scholar
  • Bacon, Francis, “Of the True Greatness of Kingdoms and Estates”, The Works of Francis Bacon: Baron of Verulam, Viscount St. Albans, and Lord High Chancellor of England, Vol. II, London 1824. google scholar
  • Beeching, Jack, The Galleys at Lepanto, Hutchinson, London 2007. google scholar
  • Bostan, İdris, Kürekli ve Yelkenli Osmanlı Gemileri, Bilge Yayınevi, İstanbul 2005. google scholar
  • Braudel, Fernand, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, Harper Collins, New York 1992. google scholar
  • Cervantes, Miguel de, “In which the captive recounts his life and adventures”, The History and Adventures of the Renowned Don Quixote, trans. Tobias Smollett, ed. O. M. Brack, Jr., The University of Georgia Press, Athens 2003. google scholar
  • Contarini, Giampietro, Historia delle cose successe dal principio della guerra mossa da Selim Ottomano a Venetiani fino al di della gran giornata vittoriosa contra Turchi, Francesco Rampazetto, Venetia 1572. google scholar
  • Çerçi, Faris, Gelibolulu Mustafa Âli ve Kühn-ül’Ahbâr’ında II. Selim, III. Murat ve III. Mehmet Devirleri, c. I, Erciyes Üniversitesi Yayınları, Kayseri 2000. google scholar
  • Felibien, Andre, “Preface” in Felibien et al., Conferences de l’Academie royale de peinture et de sculpture, pendant l’annee 1667, F. Leonard, Paris 1668. google scholar
  • Ferguson, George, Signs and Symbols in Christian Art, Oxford University Press, New York 1954. google scholar
  • Hammer, Joseph von, Büyük Osmanlı Tarihi, c. VI, Üçdal İkra Okusan, İstanbul 1992. google scholar
  • Howells, Richard, Visual Culture, Polity Press Blackwell, Cambridge 2003. google scholar
  • İnalcık, Halil, ‘Lepanto in the Ottoman Documents’, IlMediterraneo nella seconda meta del 500 alla luce di Lepanto: atti del convegno di studi promosso e organizzato dalla Fondazione Giorgio Cini (Venice, October 8-10, 1971), ed. Gino Benzoni, Leo S. Olschki, Firenze 1974, s. 185-192. google scholar
  • Kantemir, Dimitri, Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nun Yükseliş ve Çöküş Tarihi I, Cumhuriyet, İstanbul 1998. google scholar
  • Kut, Naz Defne, Iconography ofa Catholic Victory: The Battle ofLepanto in Italian Painting, Koç Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü, Yayınlanmamış Yüksek Lisans Tezi, İstanbul 2018. google scholar
  • Lafrery, Antoine, Geografia tavole moderne di geografia de la maggior parte del mondo di diversi avtori raccolte et messe secondo l’ordine di Tolomeo con i disegni di molte citta et fortezze di diverse provintie stampate in rame con stvdio et diligenza, Antoine Lafrery, Roma 1572. https://www.loc.gov/ item/2006629143/ google scholar
  • Koçu, Reşat Ekrem, Osmanlı Muahedeleri ve Kapitülasyonlar 1300-1920, Türkiye Matbaası, İstanbul 1934. google scholar
  • Minguez, Victor, “A Sea of Dead Turks: Lepanto and the Iconographies of Hell and the Flood”, Lepanto and Beyond: Images ofReligious Alterity from Genoa and the Christian Mediterranean, eds. Laura Stagno -Borja Franco Llopis, Leuven University Press, Leuven 2021, s. 111-136. google scholar
  • Pallucchini, Anna, “Echi della battaglia di Lepanto nella pittura veneziana del ‘500”, Il Mediterraneo nella seconda meta del ‘500 alla luce di Lepanto: atti del convegno di studi promosso e organizzato dalla Fondazione Giorgio Cini (Venice, October 8-10, 1971), ed. Gino Benzoni, Leo S. Olschki, Firenze 1974, s. 279-281. google scholar
  • Paul, Benjamin, “‘And the Moon has Started to Bleed’: Apocalypticism and religious reform in Venetian art at the time of the Battle of Lepanto”, The Turk and Islam in the Western Eye, 1450-1750: Visual Imagery before Orientalism, ed. James G. Harper, Routledge, London and New York, s. 67-94. google scholar
  • Pedani, Maria Pia, “Ottoman Ships and Venetian Craftsmen in the 16th Century”, Seapower, Technology and Trade: Studies in Turkish Maritime History, eds. Dejanirah Couto - Feza Günergun - Maria Pia Pedani, Piri Reis University Publications, İstanbul 2014, s. 460-464. google scholar
  • Ranke, Leopold von, The History of the Popes: Their Church and State and Especially of Their Conflicts with Protestantism in the Sixteenth & Seventeenth Centuries, Vol. I, George Bell and Sons, London 1889. google scholar
  • Scetti, Aurelio, The Journal of Aurelio Scetti: A Florentine Galley Slave at Lepanto (1565-1577), trans. and ed. Luigi Monga, Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Tempe, Arizona 2004. google scholar
  • Scorza, Rick, “‘Â me pare, che siano fatte con diligenza’: Cosimo Bartoli, Giorgio Vasari, and an Extraordinary Venetian Drawing”, Master Drawings, 48/3 (2010), s. 341-351. google scholar
  • Selânikî Mustafa Efendi, Tarih-i Selânikî: (971-1003/1563-1595), haz. Mehmet İpşirli, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara 1999. google scholar
  • Sorce, Francesco, “Il Drago come Immagine del Nemico Turco nella Rappresentazione di Eta Moderna”, Rivista dell’Istituto Nazionale d’Archeologia e Storia dell’Arte, n. 62-63, Fabrizio Serra Editore, Pisa 2013. google scholar
  • Stevens, William Oliver - Allan F. Westcott, A History ofSea Power, George H. Doran Company, New York 1920. google scholar
  • Straten, Roelof van, An Introduction to Iconography: Symbols, Allusions and Meaning in the Visual Arts, Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, Abingdon and New York 1994. google scholar
  • Strunck, Christina, “The Barbarous and the Noble Enemy: Pictorial Representations of the Battle of Lepanto”, The Turk and Islam in the Western Eye, 1450-1750: Visual Imagery Before Orientalism, ed. James G. Harper, Ashgate, Burlington, VT 2011, s. 217-240. google scholar
  • Vingopoulou, İoli, https://tr.travelogues.gr/collection.php?view=145, son erişim: 10 Aralık 2021. google scholar
  • Wolters, Wolfgang, “Guerra e pace nei dipinti di Palazzo Ducale”, Venezia e la Difesa del Levante: Da Lepanto a Candia 1570-1670, Arsenale, Venezia 1986, s. 247-254. google scholar
  • https://militarymaps.rct.uk/other-16th-century-conflicts/battle-of-lepanto-1571-mirate-anime-pie-con-qual-arte. google scholar

Citations

Copy and paste a formatted citation or use one of the options to export in your chosen format


EXPORT



APA

Kut, N.D. (2022). From Representation to Imagination: The Battle of Lepanto in European Painting. Turkish Journal of History, 0(76), 223-259. https://doi.org/10.26650/iutd.202212


AMA

Kut N D. From Representation to Imagination: The Battle of Lepanto in European Painting. Turkish Journal of History. 2022;0(76):223-259. https://doi.org/10.26650/iutd.202212


ABNT

Kut, N.D. From Representation to Imagination: The Battle of Lepanto in European Painting. Turkish Journal of History, [Publisher Location], v. 0, n. 76, p. 223-259, 2022.


Chicago: Author-Date Style

Kut, Naz Defne,. 2022. “From Representation to Imagination: The Battle of Lepanto in European Painting.” Turkish Journal of History 0, no. 76: 223-259. https://doi.org/10.26650/iutd.202212


Chicago: Humanities Style

Kut, Naz Defne,. From Representation to Imagination: The Battle of Lepanto in European Painting.” Turkish Journal of History 0, no. 76 (Feb. 2023): 223-259. https://doi.org/10.26650/iutd.202212


Harvard: Australian Style

Kut, ND 2022, 'From Representation to Imagination: The Battle of Lepanto in European Painting', Turkish Journal of History, vol. 0, no. 76, pp. 223-259, viewed 4 Feb. 2023, https://doi.org/10.26650/iutd.202212


Harvard: Author-Date Style

Kut, N.D. (2022) ‘From Representation to Imagination: The Battle of Lepanto in European Painting’, Turkish Journal of History, 0(76), pp. 223-259. https://doi.org/10.26650/iutd.202212 (4 Feb. 2023).


MLA

Kut, Naz Defne,. From Representation to Imagination: The Battle of Lepanto in European Painting.” Turkish Journal of History, vol. 0, no. 76, 2022, pp. 223-259. [Database Container], https://doi.org/10.26650/iutd.202212


Vancouver

Kut ND. From Representation to Imagination: The Battle of Lepanto in European Painting. Turkish Journal of History [Internet]. 4 Feb. 2023 [cited 4 Feb. 2023];0(76):223-259. Available from: https://doi.org/10.26650/iutd.202212 doi: 10.26650/iutd.202212


ISNAD

Kut, NazDefne. From Representation to Imagination: The Battle of Lepanto in European Painting”. Turkish Journal of History 0/76 (Feb. 2023): 223-259. https://doi.org/10.26650/iutd.202212



TIMELINE


Submitted15.12.2021
Accepted01.03.2022
Published Online16.03.2022

LICENCE


Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.


SHARE




Istanbul University Press aims to contribute to the dissemination of ever growing scientific knowledge through publication of high quality scientific journals and books in accordance with the international publishing standards and ethics. Istanbul University Press follows an open access, non-commercial, scholarly publishing.