Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Eric Garberson

Second Advisor

Janna Israel

Third Advisor

Michael Schreffler

Fourth Advisor

Fredrika Jacobs


This thesis examines four European portrait prints of Ottoman sultan Mehmed II, dated 1470 to 1493. At the center of this study is a formal and iconographical analysis that indicated all are rooted in traditional artistic conventions of both Western princely portraiture and stereotypical imagery of evil doers. Part of a feverish textual and visual discourse that was the result of great fear for the Ottoman aggression, they all adhere to a conventionalized type for the Eastern despot. The portraits employ to varying degrees a general pictorial language of evil, based on medieval folk imagery, that employed sartorial and physical signifiers used for a wide range of social groups that were not accepted by Christian society. The result is four images that share certain characteristics, most notably an iconic hat, but differ considerably in others to bring across diverging messages about the sultan's ambiguous public identity.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2012

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