An Azappo Archer with a Cheetah
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Jacopo Ligozzi
Italian, about 1575
Brush, pen and brown ink, tempera, and gold paint
11 1/16 x 8 3/4 in.

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Jacopo Ligozzi's vivid colors and gold paint underscore the splendid, exotic character of his subject, an azappo, a seafaring Turkish archer, and a cheetah. Ligozzi probably painted this sheet as part of a book devoted to figures in Turkish costume, many of whom are accompanied by animals. Rather than drawing from life, he used a variety of costume engravings.

Ligozzi seems to have invented the idea of showing animals alongside the costumed figures. Throughout his book, the animals often act as commentaries on the figures or reflect physiognomic similarities; here, heads turned to the right and the finely drawn human and feline whiskers link the azappo and the cheetah.

Ligozzi's patron, Francesco I de' Medici, probably commissioned the series. During the late 1500s, wealthy patrons interested in science and exploration often hired artists to paint elaborate, colored illustrations of flora, fauna, and the peoples of foreign lands.

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