Portrait Reflection

I was captivated by this portrait of Moulay al-Rashid by Adriaen Lommelin. Lommelin used intricate details in his depiction of the sultan of Morocco. From the fine lines on his turban to the wrinkles on his face to the embellishments on his attire, this portrait is full of ornate features. Additionally, one part of this portrait that stood out to me were all the adornments on the Emperor. There’s a heavy jewel on his turban and he’s wearing large drop earrings. He is holding a ribbed sword and his attire is garnished with various ornamentations. This portrait screams wealth and power. Westermann writes in her book, A Worldly Art, that it was “generally agreed that only those with a claim to nobility were worthy of portrayal” (132). This portrait is of someone who holds a lot of political power, which represents how a majority of portraits in the sixteenth century center around the portrayal of political figures, elites, and nobility. Essentially, only those who were deemed worthy were capable of being portrayed in artwork during this time period. Not having much prior knowledge on the Emperor, I am curious to know what his time as sultan entailed and what he was famous for. I also would like to know how the artist viewed Moulay al-Rashid and if he looked up to him or if he was painting him simply because he was an important political figure. How did he play a significant role in Dutch history?

One thought on “Portrait Reflection

  1. I think you chose a very interesting portrait to write about.You made observations about the subjects adornments, emblems, clues, and objects within the portrait which are tools Grootenboer mentions in his essay. You ask interesting questions at the end of your response about how the painter felt towards Moulay al Rashid. I too am interested and wonder if that made the artist add a clue into the painting to signify his feelings.


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