Hosted by the Hungarian National Museum, the 13th International Congress of Turkish Art was held in Budapest, Hungary, from 3-8 September, 2007. Over 180 participants representing 22 countries gathered to hear the 124 abstracts selected for presentation.
Sabrina A. Bandali, a third-year GPISH student, presented a paper entitled “Portraiture as Diplomatic Communication in the time of Mehmed II”. The paper examined the various uses of royal portraiture of - and commissioned by - the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II (1432-1481), also known as Mehmed the Conqueror. Particularly in the aftermath of the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, there was considerable curiosity in Europe about the person of the Sultan; given the noted personal interest of Mehmed II in art generally, and portraiture specifically, portraits of the Sultan became a means of diplomatic communication between Ottoman and European courts. Building on previous studies of the symbolism and iconography of existent depictions of the Sultan, the case study of royal portraiture undermines the stereotypical view of Ottoman diplomacy as having divided the world into Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb, between which only war was possible.
Established by the initiative of the late Professor Surat Kemal Yetkin of Ankara University, the International Congress of Turkish Art meets every four years in different locations. It first met in 1959 and, since then, has brought together researchers from many countries to discuss a broad range of topics related to Turkish art. Recent meetings of the Congress have been held in Amman (2003), Utrecht (1999), Geneva (1995), and Istanbul (1991).