The cheerful one, with eyes full of mischief

Imagine this: there’s this TV show. It’s about a guy, let’s call him Suleiman. He’s just been promoted. He gives his best mate the job of right-hand man. His girlfriend (let’s call her Mahidevran) moves back into his place with their son.

His mother rules his love-life and hand-picks who Suleiman sees. But Suleiman has noticed a particular woman. She’s beautiful, smart, and ambitious. And the cute accent probably doesn’t hurt. Mahidevran is green-eyed. There’s a spot of assault, poisoning, and when that doesn’t work, attempted murder with a dagger. In the meantime, his sister’s secretly in love with his best mate. He’s also trying to stop his employees stealing from him. And his competitors keep trying to take over everything he has. And that’s just the first couple of episodes!

Sounds a bit crazy, right? But actually, you’re in luck. It’s a Turkish series called Muhteşem Yüzyıl (Magnificent Century), based on the lives of Suleiman the Magnificent and Hürrem Sultan.

I had a bit of fun sketching scenes from Magnificent Century as "research".
I had a bit of fun sketching scenes from Magnificent Century as “research”.

This piece is inspired by the scene from Magnificent Century where Hürrem (played by Meryem Uzerli) dances for Suleiman (Halit Ergenç). But Elena most definitely makes this piece her own. Let’s continue our story (if you missed any of the first pieces, you can read them here).

Centuries of custom decreed that sultans did not marry their concubines.

History differs on the reason Suleiman set Hürrem free. Some say it was because he was happy Hürrem converted to Islam. Others say Hürrem wished to do charity work, which she couldn’t do as a slave. Either way, Suleiman gave Hürrem her freedom. Hürrem then told him she couldn’t share a bed with him as a free woman because her new religion wouldn’t allow it.

Suleiman married her 3 days later in a magnificent ceremony.

Hürrem did do a lot of charity work and built many public buildings, including a mosque, schools, a women’s hospital, and a soup kitchen to feed the poor.

©2017, Ailene Cuthbertson, <i>My love, of eyes full of mischief</i>. Photograph, 30 cm x 30 cm
©2017, Ailene Cuthbertson, My love, of eyes full of mischief. Photograph, 30 cm x 30 cm

Behind the scenes

What can I say? This is pure Elena. Check out this photo – it’s the original:

My unedited photo of this piece. Isn't Elena gorgeous?
My unedited photo of this piece. Isn’t Elena gorgeous?

Can you even tell what I changed? A touch of dodge and burn to enhance her make-up here and there, a slight addition to the hair draping over her shoulder, straightening her jewellery…

©2017, Ailene Cuthbertson, Detail of My love, of eyes full of mischief. Photograph, 30 cm x 30 cm
©2017, Ailene Cuthbertson, Detail of My love, of eyes full of mischief. Photograph, 30 cm x 30 cm

Next time

Have you wondered where the titles of this series come from? You’ll see in the next artwork!

This piece is for sale. You can order prints, and see more about this artwork in my gallery: