Skip to Main Content

The Age of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent

January 25, 1987 – January 17, 1988
East Building, Upper Level, West Bridge (9,000 sq. ft.)

Installation view of The Age of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Gallery Archives

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.

Overview: Decorative arts from the Ottoman empire during the reign of Sultan Suleyman I (1520–1566) were shown including 68 illustrated books and manuscripts; 55 kaftans, embroideries, and rugs; 51 ceramics and tiles; and 40 imperial items of gold, silver, and rock crystal embellished with gems. More than 130 objects came from the Topkapi Palace Museum and other national museums in Istanbul. Others were lent by European, Middle Eastern, and American museums and collections.

Organization: Esin Atil from the Center for Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution, was guest curator. D. Dodge Thompson was the coordinator at the National Gallery. Gaillard Ravenel and Mark Leithauser designed the exhibition, and Gordon Anson designed the lighting for the National Gallery.

Sponsor: The exhibition was supported by a grant from Philip Morris Companies Inc., with additional support provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. It was presented through the cooperation of the government of the Republic of Turkey.

Attendance: 293,709

Catalog: The Age of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, by Esin Atil. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art; New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1987.

Brochure: The Age of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, by Esin Atil. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1987.

Other Venues: Art Institute of Chicago, June 14–September 7, 1987
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, October 4–January 17, 1987

Download a free PDF of the exhibition catalog (PDF 153.76MB)