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Siege and Capture of Belgrade

Siege and Capture of Belgrade

  • Date: August 1521
  • Material: paper
  • Technique: woodcut
  • Dimensions: 39.4 x 20.8 cm
  • Inventory number: I1 3162

The woodcut printed by Wolfgang Resch in Nuremberg shows the attack of Piri-Pasha's janissaries on the Lower Town of the Belgrade Fortress. In the extensive Turkish campaign, led by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent himself, the Hungarian fortresses on the Sava and the Danube were taken, so that help could not be given to besieged Belgrade. The Lower Town was captured on 28 August, and, after negotiations, Belgrade surrendered on 29 August 1521. The Hungarian garrison and inhabitants were transported by boats to the north, and the Serbian population was deported to Constantinople and its surroundings, where it was charged with the maintenance of the supply of water for the capital. Until recently there existed a village called Beligrad in the vicinity of Istanbul, and a neighbourhood in the city itself was called "Beligrad-mahala".

Wolfgang Resch's woodcut appeared in Germany in the year Belgrade was captured. Three variants of it are known: the one shown here, another of greater height, and a third with a text in two columns at the top, which states hat the fall of Belgrade was God's punishment for discord and sins of the Christians. The representation was not cut inversely, so that one would have to look at it in a mirror to get the right picture of Belgrade. Better known than Resch's original is its replica, without the Turks in the boats, published in Münster's Cosmographia Unversalis, the greatest geographic handbook of the time, which went through more than forty editions, in Latin, German, French and Italian within a century (by 1652).

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