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index / Turkey in the 1820's
Painting was as important as literature in conjuring up fantasies about distant countries in the western mind. But words were preferred over paintings in the creation of the mythologies that accompanied those fantasies, for words leave more to the imagination.
From the early Renaissance to the mid-19th century, many an adventurous painter travelled to the mysterious East, including the Ottoman Empire, as members of diplomatic or scientific missions.
Writing a report, long or short, in the form of a memoir or impressions, which conveyed information as well as reflecting his personal views about the country where he had served, was one of the major pursuits of a Diplomat. Undoubtedly one of the most important assignments of Diplomacy was to incorporate the task of acquiring and conveying information in the military field with a graphic representation. Diplomats, most of whom came from aristocratic families, were educated from childhood in the classical languages, history, geography, literature, music and numerous other subjects. In the 17th century, it was also quite fashionable for youngsters of European
 
 
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