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Jean-Etienne Liotard, Portrait of a Grand Vizir (?)

Key facts
Full title Portrait of a Grand Vizir, or of a European dressed as one
Artist Jean-Etienne Liotard
Artist dates 1702 - 1789
Date made about 1741
Medium and support Pastel on parchment
Dimensions 61.6 × 47.6 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Mrs John P. Heseltine in memory of her husband, 1929
Inventory number NG4460
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Portrait of a Grand Vizir (?)
Jean-Etienne Liotard

The Swiss artist Jean-Etienne Liotard most likely produced this portrait in pastel on vellum or parchment while he was living in Constantinople from 1738 to 1742. He travelled widely across Europe, producing pastels and chalk drawings of European nobles and diplomats who are often in Eastern costume.

The bearded man here may be one of these sitters wearing Turkish clothes. However, it is far more likely that he is an as yet unidentified Turkish Grand Vizier (Prime Minister), as both the white gold-striped conical turban and the ermine-trimmed coat were worn by Grand Viziers of the Ottoman Empire. The most likely candidate is Nişanci (Chancellor) ‘Kőr’ Ahmed Pasha, who served the longest of the four Grand Viziers in office during Liotard’s stay in Constantinople. If this portrait is of Ahmed Pasha, it was probably produced around 1741.

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