Woman of Constantinople

François Boucher French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 690

In eighteenth-century France, there was considerable interest in the Ottoman empire. Despite the appetite for novels, plays, and paintings centered around the Ottoman court, few artists had visited and therefore works such as this were largely based on images by earlier artists.

Boucher's drawing of a standing woman wearing a large turban, an ermine-lined caftan, and a jewel-encrusted belt was likely inspired by the work of Jean-Baptiste Vanmour, who lived for years in Constantinople and whose small oil paintings circulated in Europe and were reproduced by engravers.

Boucher's drawing was etched in reverse by François Ravenet (1706–1774), as Dame de Constantinople, no. 5 of the Recueil de diverses figures étrangères inventées par F. Boucher P.tre du Roy et gravées par F. Ravenet. Gabriel Huquier (1695-1772) was the publisher of the suite and the preparatory drawings appear in his 1772 estate sale.

Woman of Constantinople, François Boucher (French, Paris 1703–1770 Paris), Red chalk

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