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Melchior Lorck (aka Melchior Lorch)

(Flensburg, Germany, 1527 - after 1588, Copenhagen, Denmark)

A Military Imam (Feldschreyer) with his two Assistants, 1619-1649
Woodcut on laid paper
8 7/16 x 5 15/16 in. (21.43 x 15.08 cm)

Creation Place: Europe, Danish
Technique: Woodcut
Credit Line: Dr. Alois Schardt Fund
Accession Number: P2022.11.1

Purchased by the Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College from C.G. Boerner, New York in 2022.

Catalogue Raisonné
Hollstein 59 (the whole series).

Lorck's images represent the most thorough visual record of the life and customs of Turkey in the sixteenth century. The artist had been assigned to the embassy that the German king, later Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I, had sent to the court of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in Constantinople in 1555. He stayed until 1559. The woodcuts for his "Turkish Publication" were cut from 1570 onwards, most likely in Antwerp. The compendium as a whole was never published before the artist disappears from the records in Copenhagen in 1583. A proof impression of the title-page describes it as Wolgerissene und geschnittene Figuren in Kupffer und Hold durch. Den Kunstreichen und weitberümten Melcher Lorch für die Mahler Bildthawer und Kunstliebenden. an tag gegeben. The first comprehensife edition was published in Hambur in 1626 with various reprints during the follwoing decades.

The wise man is wearing a loincloth only. He has put his arms on the shoulders of two men, who support him. The hair-dress (shaved heads except ponytails) make clear that the three men are Turkish. In the background a city can be seen. The composition of the three men recalls the iconography of an angel pietà.

From a series of about 120 woodcuts which were published in different editions between 1619 and 1646 (the 1575 edition was never published).

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This object has the following keywords:

  • Image Dimensions: 8 7/16 x 5 15/16 in. (21.43 x 15.08 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen
  • Sheet Dimensions: 8 5/8 x 6 1/8 in. (21.91 x 15.56 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen

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