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Exhibition Tour: Imagine Me and You—Seeing the Sultan

An engraved bust portrait of a sultan wearing a large white turban cut off at the top.
Melchior Lorck, Danish, Portrait of Sultan Süleyman II, 1559. Engraving on antique laid paper. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Stephen Bullard Memorial Fund, 1982.502, TL42591.2.


Harvard Art Museums
32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA

This event does not require registration; see further details below.

Join Talitha Maria G. Schepers, curator of the exhibition Imagine Me and You, for an exploration of how portraits played a role in European–Ottoman diplomatic relations. From the moment Sultan Mehmed II (r. 1451–1481) conquered Constantinople (Istanbul), Europeans had a keen interest in seeing what the sultan looked like. This curiosity continued into the reign of Mehmed’s great-grandson, Sultan Süleyman (r. 1520–1566). This talk will focus on portraits of both rulers made by European artists.

Imagine Me and You: Dutch and Flemish Encounters with the Islamic World, 1450–1750 (May 18–August 18, 2024) explores the rich and diverse encounters that occurred between artists from the Low Countries (part of the Habsburg Empire) and the multicultural, multilingual, and multifaith societies of the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires from 1450 to 1750. A myriad of cultural, diplomatic, and mercantile interactions took place during this time, either in person or through the exchange of objects, art, and ideas. The exhibition traces these multiple encounters through the world of Netherlandish artworks and their varied representations of the Islamic realm.

Led by:
Talitha Maria G. Schepers, Stanley H. Durwood Foundation Curatorial Fellow, Division of European and American Art, and exhibition curator

Please check in with museum staff at the Visitor Services desk in the Calderwood Courtyard to request to join the tour. Talks are limited to 18 people and are available on a first-come, first-served basis; no registration is required.

The Harvard Art Museums are now offering free admission every day, Tuesday through Sunday. Please see the museum visit page to learn about our general policies for visiting the museums.

Support for Imagine Me and You: Dutch and Flemish Encounters with the Islamic World, 1450–1750 is provided by the Stanley H. Durwood Foundation Support Fund and the Melvin R. Seiden and Janine Luke Fund for Publications and Exhibitions. Related programming is supported by the M. Victor Leventritt Lecture Series Endowment Fund.

The Harvard Art Museums are committed to accessibility for all visitors. For anyone requiring accessibility accommodations for our programs, please contact us at at least 48 hours in advance.