Alberto Pasini, 1826 - 1899, ITALIAN
MARKET IN CONSTANTINOPLE
Oil on canvas
38.5 by 46cm., 15¼ by 18¼in.
It is common to think that the western terminus of the Silk Road was Rome in Italy. However, whilst Rome was indeed an important destination for Chinese silk during the first two or three centuries of the Silk Road (perhaps until 200 AD), from the 4th century onwards, the “Rome” to which all roads led in the Mediterranean world was “Eastern Rome” or Constantinople. Even in its long centuries of decline down to its conquest by the Ottoman Turks in 1453, the wealth of Constantinople was legendary, and its location ensured it a very important role in the trade with the East. Renamed Istanbul under the Turks, the city again became the capital of a great empire and played a central role in east-west cultural and economic exchange. More on the MARKET IN CONSTANTINOPLE
Alberto Pasini (Busseto, 3 September 1826 – Cavoretto, 15 December 1899) was an Italian painter. He was enrolled at the age of 17 years, in the Academy of Fine Art of Parma, studying landscape painting and drawing. In Parma, he was helped early on by Antonio Pasini, who painted for the local nobility and collaborated with the publishing house established by Giovanni Battista Bodoni. By 1852, he exhibited a series of thirty designs, made into lithographs, depicting various castles around Piacenza, Lunigiana and Parma. He was noticed by the artist Paolo Toschi, who encouraged Pasini to travel to Paris, where Pasini first joined the workshop of Charles and Eugène Ciceri, of the so-called School of Barbizon.
In 1853 his lithograph of The Evening gained him admittance to the Paris Salon, and to the workshop of the famous Théodore Chassériau. The eruption of the Crimean War offered a new opportunity, when in February 1855, this latter painter recommended Pasini to replace him on the entourage of the French plenipotentiary minister Nicolas Prosper Bourée to Persia. Pasini accompanied him, returning through the north of Persia and Armenia before reaching the port of Trebizond. In subsequent trips, he visited Egypt, the Red Sea, Arabia, Istanbul, and Persia. Pasini parlayed his exposures during this trip into numerous highly detailed paintings of orientalist subjects. He left again for Istanbul in October 1867, summoned by the French Ambassador Bourée. He returned to Turkey in 1876 to execute the four paintings commissioned by Sultan Abdul Aziz. He was about to return to Istanbul the next year, when his patron, the Sultan, died.
In 1865, he spent some time in Cannes, painted landscapes of the Riviera. During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, he returned to Italy, settling in Cavoretto, on the hills around Turin. He continued to travel, closer to his home, with trips to Venice and two sojourns in Spain in 1879 and 1883. More Alberto Pasini
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