Zacharias Wehme

The relationship between the European powers and the Ottoman Empire in the Renaissance was marked by military conflict as well as sustained cultural and commercial exchange. Featuring Ottoman ceremonies and monuments, this album attests to the early “Turkish fashion” in Dresden. The volume was created by the court painter Zacharias Wehme on the basis of a now-lost album that David Ungnad, the imperial ambassador in Constantinople, had sent to Dresden just a few years prior. This drawing focuses on the Hagia Sophia—built as a Christian place of worship and converted to a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453. The left side of the composition includes a flap that, when opened, reveals the tomb of the recently deceased Sultan Selim II.

Zacharias Wehme
German, 1558–1606
Hagia Sophia with the Türbe (Tomb) of Sultan Selim II (1524–1574, r. 1566–74) and an Ottoman Procession, 1581–82
Pen and gray ink, brush and white, silver, and gold watercolor and opaque watercolor, mounted on blue paper
Kupferstich-Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, INV. NO. CA 170/8
© Kupferstich-Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
Photo: Herbert Boswank