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Radu cel Frumos with Mehmed II

By Elveo
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Sultan Mehmed Fatih (Mehmed the Conqueror) and his beloved favorite Radu the Handsome, the son of the prince of Wallachia, Vlad Dragul (Vlad Dracula II). I tried to depict the beautiful Romanian man in the embrace of the Turkish ruler, and making everything according to historical examples. The the poetry of the sultan himself describes the atmosphere  of the artwork at best:

1. Oh, full with roses and flowers is your face, o beauty of spring!
With the sun of your blush you illuminate the World of Beauty.
2. Because of your beauty the Garden of Perfection is full of purity and peace.
With the brilliance of your beauty you bring the joy to the beauty of spring.
3. The young tree of your body is the tallest cypress of beauty.
Your tall figure surpasses the work of beauty.
4. Turn my heart into a ruin, о builder of my suffering!
One day there will be no more art of these ruins and the results of beauty.
5. The sultan of beauty is your face, and the gatekeeper is your eyebrow,
The executioner is your eyes, and the blackness of your curls - like a guardian of the beauty’s gates.
6. The zealot cannot quit hypocrisy in love, look!
Thank God, Avni is not ashamed to get pleasure from the beauty.

©Elveo. I have translated Mehmed’s poem no. 57 literally from ottoman Turkish text:

1. Ey pür-gül ü şükûfe yüzüñle behâr-ı hüsn
Mihr-i rûhuñle rûşen olur rûzgâr-ı hüsn
2. Bâğ-ı cemâl hüsnüñ ile pür-safâdurur
Şâd-âbdur cemâlüñ ile nev behâr-ı hüsn
3. Nahl-i kadüñ ki serv-i ser-efrâz-ı hüsndür
Oldı bülend kadd-i bülendüñle kâr-ı hüsn
4. Yap göñlümüñ harâbesin ey bânî-i cefâ
Bir gün ola harâba vara kâr [u] bâr-ı hüsn
5. Sultân-ı hüsn yüzüñ ü hâcibdürür kaşuñ
Cellâd çeşm ü zülf-i siyeh perde-dâr-ı hüsn
6. ‘Işk-ı riyâyı terk idemez zâhidi görüñ
Şükr-i Hudâ ki 'Avnî degül şerm sâr-ı hüsn

Main collection of Mehmed the Conqueror’s poems are in manuscript “Divan-ı Avni” and the Latin text can be found in “Dîvân-i Sultân Muhammed” by M. Nur Dogan.

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Comments32
anonymous's avatar
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SerpentAlchemy's avatar

Oh my! The poem is absolutely gorgeous. Shows how much in love Mehmed was with Radu and how his heart was captured by his beauty. Infinitely beautiful poetry.. Thanks for translating. By the way, I read that you are Russian in another comment. But you can translate and write ancient persian and islamic languages? It's amazing how much you have studied. Kudos to you.

Elveo's avatar

Thank you for the feedback! I think they were definitely lovers.

I'm from Russia but not Slavic by nationality, I'm Tatar which is a Turkic nation, before 1917 tatars had arabic script and they are sunni muslims. And yeah I learned Persian language (mainly Dari), a bit classic Arabic because I want to read poetry in original.

gingigamer's avatar
Why do you paint most of your men like women?
Elveo's avatar
Because it is called androgynous beauty and it was the ideal standard of beauty since antiquity. If you have seen depictions of most beautiful ideal of young men in Ancient Greece and Rome most of them were androgynous (feminine men or hermaphrodite). Radu was called "Ganymede" (a boy with whom the King of Gods Zeus fell in love) that is to say a feminine man who was a beloved favorite of Sultan. And this is how Ganymede and Androgyne was depicted in ancient Greece.

A Greek Terracotta Applique of Ganymede and the Ea by Elveo   462076906 A050d8e0f5 M by Elveo  

christ8ph's avatar

Radu looks childish pure and unimpassioned as an angel. In the same time his face reflects his unbending spirit. His portrait seems to me classically realistic: as real, but above the reality. His heavenly beauty is enhanced by his red brocade garment.

I thank Mehmed, that he permits us to delight of Radu's incomparable beauty.

I begin to perceive Radu dearer and dearer to me, thanks to your art!

Elveo's avatar
First of all thank you for the constructive comment. I'm surprised that someone starts to love Radu, I mean real him, because it's him, who I try to depict. Yes, Avni is a talented poet and I hope to reveal more and more of his poetic treasures. Surely, some of his jewels he could dedicate to Radu. In my view I see Radu as a pure person who needed only love from one man.
Hermetic-Wings's avatar
So nice to see some new submissions from you. As you see, many people interested with the subject because of the beauty of your artwork :D
Elveo's avatar
Tesekkurler! You have no idea how I'm happy to know that :love:
Hermetic-Wings's avatar
Ne demek.... So please keep up posting such beauties
Elveo's avatar
For sure! Yapacağım La la la la  
marycreative's avatar
Is Radu transexual? Because Radu is a masculine name and he looks like a woman.
Elveo's avatar
No, Radu was a man, a wallachian prince and son of Vlad Dracula II.
His name is masculine but he was beautiful, that is why he got nickname "frumos" and Greek historian called him "eron" - which means "beautiful" but in a seducing way and by greeks was usually used towards women.
Moreover he was loved by Turkish Sultan who liked androgynous looking young men whom he praised in his poetry.
marycreative's avatar
That's interesting to know. Even though he still looks too much like a woman I admit that I like how he looks.
Elveo's avatar
Thanks! Yeah, he's a young boy and all the impression is due to his long curly hair~
PS. I was inspired by the depictions of Wallachian rulers on icons (mustache removed too see if their masculinity remain) and they look pretty feminine :3
marycreative's avatar
Interesting looking pictures. Now that I think about it, All of the Wallachian kings have long hair except Mihai Viteazul. He's the odd one out.
Elveo's avatar
Indeed, although Mihai Viteazul is from 16 century, while these voivodes are from 15 - maybe cause different fashion :3
marycreative's avatar
You may be right. Fashion trends don't stay the same. Especially in history.
TheFireCircleYagna's avatar
How did you learn Turkish? I'm trying to learn Italian and I've been researching some Hindi expressions and vocabulary, but I lack self organisation and persistence......... I'm so raw compared with you!
Elveo's avatar
Just love what you do, dear, love it with all your heart)
TheFireCircleYagna's avatar
I do love and I feel so glad and pleasured when studying the subjects I like!!!! :love:
TheFireCircleYagna's avatar
You are making me fall in love with Radu and want to know him better! :kiss:
Elveo's avatar
anonymous's avatar
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