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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Haydar Reis (called Nigari), Turkish (1494 - 1574)
Portrait of Francis I, King of France (after J. Clouet)
Work Type
album folio
Creation Place: Middle East, Türkiye (Turkey), Istanbul
Ottoman period
Persistent Link


Level 3, Room 3620, University Study Gallery
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Physical Descriptions

Opaque watercolor on paper
22.4 x 12.6 cm (8 13/16 x 4 15/16 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
Possibly Imperial Library, Istanbul. F.R. Martin (1912). [Kirkor Minassian, Paris or New York, (after 1912 -1945?)], by descent; to [Adrienne Minassian, New York 1945-29 April 1965], sold; to Edwin Binney, 3rd, 1965, bequest; to Harvard University Art Museums, 1985.

See: Edwin Binney, 3rd, "Turkish Treasures From the Collection of Edwin Binney, 3rd", Portland Art Museum, Portland Oregon, 1979, p. 25.
See: F.R. Martin, "The Miniature Painting and Painters of Persian India and Turkey from the 8th to the 18th Century" London, 1912 p. 93.
Kirkor Minassian died in 1943 or 1944 according to the History of the Minassian Collection at Brown University.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, The Edwin Binney, 3rd Collection of Turkish Art at the Harvard Art Museums
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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This portrait of Francis I, King of France, by the Ottoman court artist Haydar (Nigari) was produced alongside a matching portrait of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. The inscription below the portrait contains the artist’s name (Haydar) and fictitiously proclaims that Francis and Charles visited Sultan Selim II (r. 1566-74) to collect an imperial decree. While the two monarchs, archrivals of the Ottoman sultans, never set foot in the Ottoman capital, images of their likenesses did, providing the artist with prototypes. Here, Nigari has taken a lost image of Francis by a follower of the French court painter Jean Clouet as his model to depict the ruler posing in three-quarter view and in a European headdress and costume. Simultaneously, he has executed the portrait using minimal depth and included details such as the stylized mustache of the king and the classical Ottoman pattern on his collar, which place the work in the tradition of Islamic painting. The artist Haydar Nigari was a sea captain and was in charge of the Ottoman Imperial Naval yards. He was also a poet and close companion of Selim II during his princedom and rule. Both portraits were most likely later included in an album made for Ahmed I (r. 1603-17) partially known as the Bellini album.

Publication History

  • F.R. Martin, The Miniature Painting and Painters of Persia, India and Turkey, from the 8th to the 18th century, B. Quaritch (London, England, 1912), p. 59, plate 227
  • Edwin Binney III, Turkish Treasures from the Collection of Edwin Binney, 3rd, exh. cat., Portland Art Museum (Portland, OR, 1979), page 24-25/figure 12

Exhibition History

  • The Edwin Binney 3rd Collection of Turkish Art at the Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 05/16/1987 - 08/02/1987
  • The Ottoman Empire: A Culture and Its Impact, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 03/25/1989 - 05/21/1989
  • The Ottomans and their Contemporaries, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 03/21/1992 - 05/17/1992
  • A Grand Legacy: Arts of the Ottoman Empire, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 10/09/1999 - 01/02/2000
  • 32Q: 2550 Islamic, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 05/14/2015
  • Imagine Me and You: Dutch and Flemish Encounters with the Islamic World, 1450–1750, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/18/2024 - 08/18/2024

Verification Level

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