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Jean-Baptiste van Mour

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Jean-Baptiste van Mour or Vanmour (January 9, 1671—January 22, 1737) was a Flemish-French painter, remembered for his detailed portrayal of life in the Ottoman Empire during the Tulip Era and the rule of Sultan Ahmed III.

Van Mour was a native of Valenciennes, a Flemish town, but after 1678 belonging to France. He studied art in the studio of Jacques-Albert Gérin, and his work attracted the attention of an aristocrat and statesman of the time, Marquis Charles de Ferriol. Van Mour was invited to go to Istanbul when De Ferriol was appointed there as the French Ambassador in 1699. De Ferriol commissioned van Mour to do hundred portraits of the local people.

In 1711 De Ferriol returned to France and van Mour worked for a variety of other diplomats. In the meantime De Ferriol published a series of hundred engravings (after the paintings) in Recueil de cent estampes représentant différantes nations du Lévant. The book had a great influence in Western Europe and was published in at least five languages.

Painting audiences with the Sultan became van Mour's speciality, he only had to change the setting and a few faces. Van Mour worked with assistants to fulfill to all his obligations. In 1725 he was granted the extraordinary title of Peintre Ordinaire du Roy en Levan in recognition of both his and the Levant's importance to the French government.


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