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Portrait of a Painter
late 15th century

Ottoman period
Probably reign of Mehmet II

Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
H: 18.9 W: 12.8 cm
Probably Istanbul, Turkey

Purchase F1932.28

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After defeating the Byzantines and establishing Istanbul as the new capital of the Ottoman empire, Mehmet II (reigned 1451–81) invited a number of Italian painters, including Gentile Bellini (ca. 1429–1507) and Costanzo da Ferrara (ca. 1450–after 1524), to work at his court. This portrait is based on a composition attributed to Ferrara, now in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Notable for its fine details and sensitive modeling, the Ottoman version has been erroneously ascribed to the fifteenth-century Persian painter Bihzad.