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The Siege of Malta: Arrival of the Turkish Fleet, 20 May 1565
The first of eight paintings constituting a near-contemporary record of the Siege of Malta between 18 May and 11 September 1565. The canvases bear the cipher of Charles I on the reverse indicating that they were once in his collection. The set as a whole is a version of the larger series still in place in the Council Chamber of the Grand Master's Palace in Valletta. The advance of the powerful Ottoman Turks into Eastern Europe, threatened the West. In the spring of 1565 Suleiman I, the Sultan of Turkey, decided to attack and destroy the Knights of St John at Malta, the sole survivors of the medieval crusading orders, before invading Italy and Western Europe. The ensuing four-month siege is one of the great military epics of history. The outnumbered Knights resisted the superior enemy, and the Turks eventually retreated after thousands of their troops were killed.
Matteo Perez d'Aleccio
- Image reference: BHC0252
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London