Zonaro – Ups and downs
When the Second Constitution was promulgated in 1908 at the joint instigation of the Young Turks and the Committee of Union and Progress and Sultan Abdulhamid U was deposed, Zonaro’s entire life and livelihood were threatened and he viewed the development with profound regret. Although he tried to remain politically neutral during this period, like many Palace officials he was shunted aside as an artist and scorned, and in the end was forced to leave the city.
Zonaro left Istanbul and returned to Italy where he spent his remaining years at San Remo. Continuing his work as an artist right up to his death in 1929, he created hundreds more works but he never forgot his beloved Istanbul.
Zonaro and the depictions of the conquest
Zonaro – The first painting in the series depicts the Mehmed the Conqueror preparing to take the city. A giant cannon, operated by two hundred canoers and pulled by twenty water buffalo, has been installed in front of the city walls, a scene that sufficed to strike fear into the hearts of the Byzantines.
Making drawing after drawing, Zonaro made and ripped up drafts, a process he describes in his memoirs, which were turned into a book, ‘Twenty Years in the Rule of Abdulhamid’: “I had to