Portrait of Mahmud Sevket Pasha by Fausto Zonaro

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Portrait of Mahmud Sevket Pasha by Fausto Zonaro

Painting NamePortrait of Mahmud Sevket Pasha
Painter NameFausto Zonaro
Place of CreationTurkey
Size75.8 x 100.3 cm (29.84" x 3' 3.49")
Current LocationPrivate collection

If you are aware of the political games played across portals of power, you may not find too hard to believe that the Bolsheviks were encouraged to make their aggression against Eurasian monarchies by many western minds to gain some sort of control over the region. One of the heroes resisting the rebellious movement was Mahmud Sevket Pasha of Turkey. It raged fiercely in the political arena by the end of 1909, as the rebels were demanding an overthrow of the constitutional monarchy in the Ottoman region. By the time it had gained enough fanning to get violent and conspiratorial, the Pasha was able to subdue the forces adequately, to the effect that it brought an end to the movement and the probable mayhem.

However, Mahmud Sevket Pasha was assassinated shortly after “the event of May 31, 1913” which saw the end of the revolution. It is believed that the assassination took place on June 11 in the same year. At the time, he was serving as the Grand Vizier to the Ottoman Emperor Mehmed the Fifth.

Born in Baghdad, the Pasha gained respect from an early age, when he started training as a swordsman in Afghanistan. Notice the beautifully done eyes in the painting – as if Fausto Zonaro took care about doing justice to the eyes that commanded respect from anybody trying to reciprocate. He was also a good-hearted man – easy to find trust. Apparently it took a group of armed assassins with 7 handguns to take him down. It almost seems his death was inevitable, and otherwise the launch of skirmishes could not have happened in the run up to the First World War.

The Pasha was a respected political figure as well as a high-ranking general. The painting is 3’ in height, which makes it larger than life size, because you would only consider the bust of a sitting subject while ordering this painting. It is an inspiring work, while the subject is a hero unlike in many important works of art. I might just go far enough to say this has pop-art value for the politically aware.


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