From the Medicis to the Savoias Ottoman Splendour..

The Medici family rose to prominence in Florence on the tide of the economic upheaval which began in Europe in 1340, after Giovanni di Bicci de'Medici made an immense fortune from cloth and silk manufacture and banking. Political power followed, and with some interruptions the Medicis ruled in Florence and later in Tuscany from 1434 to 1737. Four members of the family served as pope (Leo X, Clemens VII, Pius IV and Leo XI), and several others married into European royal families, circumstances which helped to perpetuate the family's influence and wealth. Caterina de 'Medici and Maria de'Medici both became queens of France, marrying Henri II and Henri IV respectively.

Members of the Medici family, above all those in Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance, became Europe's foremost patrons of the arts, and their protegés included artists like Fra Angelico, Donatello, Alberti, Botticelli, Michelangelo and Ficino. Magnificent churches and palaces built by the Medici family transformed Florence into Italy's most beautiful city, while Cosimo de'Medici founded both an academy in commemoration of Plato and Europe's largest library.

The Uffizi Palace, home to many works of art belonging to the Medicis, has a special place in the history of world museology. At the end of the 1500s a gallery arranged in complete accord with modern concepts of museumship was opened to the public, and in this way the Medici family sowed the seeds of the world's most important museum.

Like all noble families of the Renaissance, the Medicis were interested in cultures outside their own art milieu, and formed collections which were kept and exhibited in special parts of their palaces. The collections of the Medicis were not confined to the arts, but also encompassed scientific and natural history, numerous exhibits relating to which were displayed in the Studiolo at Palazzo Vecchio, and in the Tribune, and later the Loggia of Geographical Maps, at the Uffizi. The arts and culture of countries east of the Mediterranean, particularly the Islamic world, which was gaining increasing importance on the stage of history at the time, were soon represented by Persian, Memluk and Ottoman works of art added to the outstanding collections of this renowned family. The Medici collections expanded steadily, and outlived the Medicis themselves, surviving in many collections in Florence, one of the foremost centres of art in the world.

The From the Medicis to the Savoia: Ottoman Splendour in the Florentine Palaces exhibition was sponsored by Akbank and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and organized jointly by the Italian Cultural Centre and Sabancı University's Sakıp Sabancı Museum. The exhibition presented 120 exhibits, a selection of Ottoman and Islamic art used or exhibited over a time period extending from the Medicis to the Savoia, that included paintings, tiles, carpets, weapons, fabrics and metalwork dating from the 14th to the 19th centuries from the Galleria degli Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti, Museo Nazionale Bargello, Museo degli Argenti, Galleria di Palazzo Mozzi-Bardini and Villa Cerreto Guidi collections.


Wall tile

Fragments of a large Mamluk carpet with Emir Qa’it Bay’s blazon

Portrait of Bayezid I

Portrait of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent

Bow cases

Fragment of a standard

A Turk with a Sword and a Hunting Dog

Kemha fragment