“The word “definitive” is often loosely employed to characterize the principal monograph on an individual artist. In this case, the word is inadequate. Erik Fischer has literally delineated the life and career of Melchior Lorck and inscribed him into art history as a major observer – and participant – in Habsburg-Ottoman interactions. To this indefatigable scholar and his dedicated successors in Copenhagen, all of us who study sixteenth-century Northern graphics, especially those works where European artists look beyond their borders, now remain permanently in debt to Erik Fischer.” Larry Silver in Sehepunkt http://sehepunkte.de/2010/12/18204.html and Kunstform.de.

“In 1555, the Danish artist Melchior Lorck travelled to the Sublime Porte as part of the Habsburg Emperor’s embassy to the Sultan (the same expedition, as it happens, which brought back the tuilip); his brief was to report on the Turks. Lorck was an admirer of Dürer but with a stronger tendency to fancy and drollery, and he made terrific portraits of Suleyman the Magnificent, a vast, detailed magical “Prospect of Constantinople”, and dozens of detailed studies showing fantastic caparisons of camels, towering plumed headdresses of janissaries, and different social groups’ costumes. He has only remained so little known because, while the catalogue raissoné was being compiled, almost nothing of his work was published. Melchior Lorck, fully illustrated in four volumes with a fifth to come, has at last appeared, the splendid creation of Erik Fischer (with Ernst Jonas Bencard and Mikael Bøgh Rasmussen and Marco Iuliano), published by the Royal Library of Copenhagen…”
Marina Warner
in the Times Literary Supplement, November 27, 2009

“Beautifully presented and intelligently annotated, these volumes are a unique visual document for Istanbul and the Ottoman empire at the high point of its power in the middle of the sixteenth century. It is also a rare testimony to the technological and artistic talents of northern European artists and to the astute precision of their observation of the world, their own or that of others.”
Oleg Grabar
Professor emeritus
Institute for Advanced Study
Princeton

“These impeccably produced volumes, a triumph of imaginative modern publishing down to the last detail, resurrect in its full splendour an undeservedly neglected masterpiece of patient 16th-century reportage of the enemy culture most feared by contemporary Europeans. The hundreds of engravings and woodcuts reproduced here, complete with learned modern commentaries, depict the Ottoman Turks and their daily life in meticulous detail. These volumes constitute a marvellously rich array of information on Ottoman material culture, from janissaries to water-carriers, from market women to the wives of the sultan, from mosques to military standards. The republication of this visual encyclopaedia with a full modern scholarly apparatus is an event of the first importance for historians of the early modern period.”
Robert Hillenbrand, F.B.A.
Professor Emeritus of Islamic Art
University of Edinburgh

“From panoramas to portraits, Melchior Lorck captured the sweep and swagger of Istanbul at its most imperious acme, in the final years of the reign of Süleyman the Magnificent. No other European artist of his era displayed such acuity of observation and such respect for his subjects.”
Julian Raby
Director of the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Washington, D.C.

“The significance of Erik Fisher’s major new publication on the work of the idiosyncratic and widely- travelled Danish artist, Melchior Lorck, cannot be overestimated. These four volumes provide a summation of Dr Fisher’s authoritative work on the artist. They pull together, for the first time in the English language, a biography, a catalogue raisonné of Lorck’s output, and a clear account of all the documents relating to his life, all transliterated and paraphrased. The significance of Melchior Lorck lies in his introduction of the Turkish way of life to a Renaissance Europe who only knew of the Turks as terrifying invaders. Lorck’s prints and drawings of Turkey provide an indispensable early view of a little-known society. Volume IV of this publication provides a facsimile, reproduced in actual size, of Lorck’s long prospect of Constantinople of c. 1560-65 (University Library, Leiden). It is an effective re-creation of the original appearance of the drawing, now stored as 21 separate sheets in a fragile condition. There is a full commentary provided, which helpfully shows the eight view points on a diagram of the Golden Horn area that Lorck used to make his view. Volumes II and III are devoted to the woodcuts of a book about Turkey that Lorck planned to produce, but in the event was published posthumously in 1629. A fifth volume of the publication, which will provide a catalogue of Lorck’s other prints, drawings, paintings and architectural projects, is to be much looked forward to.”
Giulia Bartrum
Curator of German Prints and Drawings
Department of Prints and Drawings
The British Museum


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