Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent Wearing the Jewel-Studded Helmet
Anonymous, Italian, Venetian, 16th century
Sheet: 35 1/16 × 20 3/16 in. (89 × 51.3 cm)
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1942
Not on view
The magnificent four-tiered helmet that Suleyman wears was the centerpiece of a group of jeweled regalia produced by Venetian goldsmiths in conjunction with German entrepreneurs to sell to the Ottoman ruler. Modeled on the three-tiered tiara of the pope, this seemingly imperial headgear was meant to signal Suleyman’s right to universal sovereignty. Suleyman’s Grand Vizier, Ibrahim Pasha, may have collaborated on its design. He also orchestrated Roman-style triumphal entries that included staggering displays of the sultan’s wealth as a challenge to Habsburg rule. The diamond- and pearl-encrusted helmet was put on public display in the Doge’s Palace in Venice in 1532; this must have been the occasion that prompted the artist to draw a careful study of the helmet for this woodcut.
Inscription: Lettered in block on banner across top center: · SVLIMAN · OTOMAN · / · REX · / TVRC · X·
In pen and brown ink at center left: [?] / 80000 [?]; below: Die Kron dieses Turckishcen keyseis Solimanni / ist geschatzt auf funffmal hundert tausend ducaten.
Marking: Collector's stamp at top right corner
Vendor: P. & D. Colnaghi & Co.
Institut du Monde Arabe. "Moments of Vision: Venice and the Islamic World, ca. 1300–1700," October 2, 2006–February 18, 2007.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," May 20, 2013–August 26, 2013.
Venice and the Islamic World, 828–1797. Edited by Stefano Carboni, Yale University Press, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and New Haven, 2007, cat. no. 59, fig. no. p. 112 (b/w), p. 112, 316, ill.