Constantinople, the cradle of numerous cultures since ancient times, was an inspiration for European artists throughout the 19th Century. Visiting artists, whether carrying out royal commissions or simply looking for exotic subject matter, were drawn to the captivating effects and extraordinary beauty of this poetic Ottoman city. Built on seven hills, with a deep blue sky that rests on its numerous minarets and its Byzantine walls enveloping its palaces and monuments, the city of Constantinople and its environs were a source of inspiration as well as a wonder for Western travelers and artists alike.
Felix Ziem was no exception. He produced no less than 142 paintings of the Hagia Sophia, the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus and Scutari, as well as about twenty paintings of fountains and sites on the Asian side of this marvelous city. Usually in his paintings, Ziem focuses more on the effects of the bright sun on the blue sea rather than the architectural elements he has chosen to depict here. However, the present work is one of the few exceptions in which the artist places equal importance on the landscape and architecture as he does on capturing the effects of light and air on water.
The Association Félix Ziem, represented by Mathias Ary Jan and Davis Pluskwa and Gérard Fabre, has confirmed the authenticity of this work which will be reproduced in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné.