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Ottoman Empire: Flags shown on paintings

Last modified: 2018-02-17 by ivan sache
Keywords: bosch (hieronymus) | painting | crescent (white) |
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Paintings by Hieronymous Bosch (15-16th centuries)

[Close-up of a Bosch's painting]

Close-up of Ecce Homo by Hieronymus Bosch - Image by Jean Valentin, 27 May 2003

The painter Hieronymus (aka Jérôme) Bosch lived in the Middle Ages (c. 1450-1516) in Brabant. He painted very strange, surrealistic-like paintings.
Some of these paintings show Turkish flags. I guess these representations reflect how the West in Bosch's time perceived "the Turks". The flags are generally red with a white crescent. It was the end of the XVth century, when the Ottomans had just taken Constantinople, quite a shock for the Christian world.
The image shown above is a close-up from the Ecce Homo (a biblical scene where Pilate shows Christ to the people) which is in a museum in Frankfurt, Germany. A Turkish flag hangs from a house which is far in the perspective.
There are other examples of Turkish flags on Bosch's paintings: The Ship of the Fools, kept in Paris, France, shows a group of crazy people singing and feasting on a small ship, on the mast of which you have the same flag.
Another of Bosch's paintings, Hell, kept in the Prado museum in Madrid, Spain, shows monsters and other strange people, one having a white flag with a black crescent fixed on the helmet he wears on his head.

Jean Valentin, 27 May 2003