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Venetian School, 18th Century
Venetian School, 18th Century

An extensive landscape with the Venetian encampment before Imotski, with a delegation of the Venetians and the Turks meeting in the foreground

Details
Venetian School, 18th Century
An extensive landscape with the Venetian encampment before Imotski, with a delegation of the Venetians and the Turks meeting in the foreground
oil on canvas
48½ x 92¼ in. (123.2 x 234.4 cm.)
Sale Room Notice
Please note that this painting is unframed

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Emily Harris
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Lot Essay

This picture shows one of the sites of the seventh Ottoman-Venetian war which was fought between the Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire between 1714 and 1718. While it ended in Ottoman victory overall, the Venetians gained many strategic advantages as well, partially due to the strength gained through the intervention of the Austrian army.

Having been of the Dukedom of Santo Saba, Imotski had come under Turkish rule in 1493, and served as an important military post over the following centuries. The battle for Imotski is surprisingly well documented: between 25 and 27 July 1717 the Venetian army under General Providur Alvise Mocenigo prepared the taking of the fortress and, having everything in place, he ordered his general Emo and Sargent-Major Rizzo to attack. A war map, dated 1717 and kept at the Imotksi museum, documents the exact positioning of infantry, cavalry and of the cannons. Johan Barich, a Hungarian nobleman, who must have been present at the battle, gave a very detailed report of the different stages of combat (see A. Pavich von Pfauenthal, ‘Beiträge zur Geschichte der Republik Polijca bei Spalato mit besonderer Rücksicht auf die Reihenfolge der Veliki Knezen (Staatsoberhäupter), Wissenschaftliche Mitteilungen aus Bosnien und der Herzegowina, X, Vienna, 1907, p. 295.), which ended in surrender on the 27 July and the handover of Imotksi on 30 July 1717. Two Ottoman envoys, one possibly Mehmed Efendi, requested and received permission for an unhindered withdrawal of their troops to Trebinje and Mostar (ibid).

The present painting will have been commissioned to commemorate the Venetian victory in this combat and shows the treaty which took place on the 30 July, when most of the armaments had already been removed. While the Ottomans are clearly distinguishable through their headgear, the Venetians like most armies at the beginning of the 18th century had no characterising uniform, differentiating the different ranks within the army. Furthermore, since Venice was predominantly a naval power, they are known to have also employed mercenaries. The picture may well have been commissioned as part of a larger series showing other scenes of the Ottoman-Venetian war. A painting of very similar dimensions, previously attributed to Vanmour and likely to have been painted by the same hand as the present lot, depicts an Ambassadorial Procession, with Imotski in the background (Museum, Pera).

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