Bronze bust "Janissaire du Sultan Mahmoud II" by Emile Guillemin
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A magnificent orientalist French Polychrome bronze bust depicting "Janissaire du Sultan Mahmoud II" (Janissary of Sultan Mahmoud II) by Émile Coriolan Hippolyte Guillemin.
Signed and dated: 'E le Guillemin/ 1879
Height: 33 3/4" (85 cm)
Émile Coriolan Hippolyte Guillemin (16 October 1841 – 1907) was a French sculptor of the Belle Epoque He worked in bronze and studied under his father, the painter Auguste Guillemin, and under Jean-Jules Salmson. By the time Emile Guillemin was working as a young artist in the 1860s, Orientalism had become an established genre and almost a rite of passage for many French painters and sculptors. Guillemin's first sculpture with an Orientalist theme was a marble and bronze bust entitled Femme Mauresque, which was the start of a series of portrait busts of beautiful Middle Eastern women. By the 1870s, Guillemin had become one of the leading French sculptors working in the Orientalist genre, and his works included the abovementioned Middle Eastern beauties as well as horsemen, falconers, and warriors such as the Janissaire present here. Both the Jeune Fille du Caire and the Janissaire were exhibited at the Salon in 1880
He continued to exhibit until the Salon of 1899, at which time many of his works were purchased by the French government. The Janissaries were an elite corps of foot soldiers in the Ottoman army, composed of children captured throughout Europe and brought to Istanbul to be trained exclusively in the arts of war. Although they were slaves, they acquired enormous power, and from 1453 to 1623 all but five of the Sultan's Grand Viziers were Janissaries. The Sultan Mahmud II disbanded the Janissary corps in 1826, in a massacre of over 120,000 soldiers that was widely discussed in France at the time, and served to increase their appeal as an exotic and fascinating subject for sculpture