Istanbul's Acquisition of Painting Causes Controversy

July 1 2020

Image of Istanbul's Acquisition of Painting Causes Controversy

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A curious news story has erupted in Turkey this past week. The Municipality of Istanbul had recently purchased the above Portrait of Sultan Mehmed II with a Dignitary by the workshop of Gentile Bellini. The painting, which had appeared at Sotheby's in 2015, was sold again at Christie's last week for £935,250 over an estimate of £400,000 - £600,000

Ekrem Imamoglu, the city's mayor, is said to have bypassed the country's Ministry of Culture and Tourism in order to acquire the work. Critics have expressed doubts as to whether the picture was overpriced or even authentic. Sultan Mehmed II's conquest of Istanbul has been a key part of  President Erdogan's rhetoric used in political campaigning and is celebrated in festivals each May.

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