John Singer Sargent, Madame X, 1883-84
(Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Welcome to Sedef's Corner,

John Singer Sargent's Madame X is one of my favorite paintings, not because it is his most beautiful work (Carnation, Lilly, Lilly, Rose is, in my opinion) not for the virtues of the sitter portrayed, although she was quite a colorful personality; the reason I love this painting so much is due to all it encompasses in one perfect canvas.  

I love the fact that Sargent originally painted her with her right strap slipping off her shoulder and had to repaint the offending strap when it caused a stir  at the Salon ( the same Salon which was dubbed the Salon of the Venuses, twenty years prior to this painting, in 1863, due to excessive amount of nudes on display) I just love all that I can garner about a time so far removed from my own, the people that lived, their notions of beauty, their concepts of morality and the many questions all of these can conjure up from looking at this painting. This is what is so great about art history and I want the whole world to know it, which is why I started writing this blog.

I love to get comments, because then I know I am making a connection. So please write even if it is to just say hello.  You may share anything you like on this blog, (the more the merrier) but please Link so that I will have the pleasure of knowing my efforts are appreciated.  

Thanks for reading ,


About the Author  Sedef Piker is a graduate of Fashion Institute of Technology where she studied Fashion Buying and Merchandising.  After graduation she moved to Turkey to work for a year and ended up staying for twenty years, working, raising a family, all the while exploring the visual culture of her ancestors.  She has been in love with art history since she was a desolate teenager hiding out at the Metropolitan Museum or the Frick on Saturdays, looking for clues to understand the world she was living in and her place in it. She went back to school to find her way back to her lifelong passion of art history and recently graduated from Rutgers University in New Jersey with a degree in Art History and certificate in Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies.


It took me a long time to get here where as the great Sufi Rumi said, I can "Let the beauty of what I love be what I do" and there have been many great people I encountered along the way. I would like to thank them here for the encouragement, knowledge and the support: 

*My husband, Mehmet and my sons, Hasan and Murat who are my Sun and Stars.
*My parents for passing on to me a natural curiosity and an unwavering resolve
*To my brother, Cenk, who was the first person to recognize I could actually write.
*Semih Irtes -  nakkas.net  my instructor at Topkapi Palace who not only taught us the art of manuscript illumination but also the history behind it.
*Melek Antel and Sevim Kayaoglu - Manuscript Illuminators and instructors at Topkapi Palace- for not letting me give up when I thought I wasn't going to make it.
* Mamure Oz - nakkas.net for being a constant source of awe and inspiration 
* Memnune Birkan - memnunebirkan.com who continues to further her knowledge tirelessly and for sharing all she learns selflessly 
* Sarah McHam - Rutgers University who introduced me to the wonders of Italian Renaissance
*Isabel Taube - Rutgers University for always taking the time to answer my ceaseless questions and her continued support
*Florence Quideau - Rutgers University -  who could make even Neoclassicism entertaining with her wonderful French sense of humor
* Catherine Puglisi - Rutgers University- her clear and enthusiastic approach to Spanish Golden Age Painting opened up a whole new world before me. 
*Hasan Niyazi - 3PP for his constant help, support and encouragement
*Blogger for giving me the creative outlet I have been craving for many years.
*Metropolitan Museum of Art and Frick Museum for being a source of inspiration and learning, for being my safe haven.


  1. Cenk has a sister? look at that. I follow The Young Turks every day and Cenk is brilliant. I'm glad he saw your writing talent. I bet you are smarter than Cenk (women usually are smarter than men). I'll check your post about Michelle Obama...

  2. Hi Fernando,

    Welcome to Sedef's Corner. Thanks for the vote of confidence. Cenk and I both have our own strengths. Please visit again soon.

    Thanks for stopping by

  3. Just found your blog and found it very interesting!

    1. Thank you and welcome to Sedef's Corner.

  4. There's something beyond sheer beauty going on in this exquisite painting of otherwise simple colors, a seductive power beyond its form. She's made simply bizarre in the most enchanting way possible though most certainly not because she did looked like that. Rather, it's the effect of her charms he wanted to conjure up. Reading her biography (Amelie Gautreau's) clears a lot of this painting mysteries.

    1. Hi Patricia,

      I find her look to be the epitome of elegance and her personal life fascinating. Sargent did capture her charms perfectly.

      Thanks for stopping by

  5. Great job! Congratulations for both your blog and for following your passion for art... By the way, I am an ex-banker who recently started a graduate program in art history after twenty years of professional career, and also with two sons, a nice coincidence?
    All the best,

  6. I am an art historian with an undergraduate degree in Byzantine Archeology and graduate degrees in American art, getting ready to spend two weeks with my young children in Istanbul, in June. Beyond excited about our trip and your site makes me even more excited at the prospect of experiencing this complex and complicated country! Great content; just ordered letters Turkish Embassy Letters on your prompting. Great job!!

    1. Hi Evie,
      I hope your trip was all that you wished for. If you would like to connect you can email me @ sedefscorner@gmail.com. Thanks for the kind remarks.

  7. Sedef hanım, I met with your Site when surfing and found it so rich and full of interesting topics.
    Congratulations for such a wonderful Site. I am a student of late Prof.Akurgal. I have a corner at Bütün Dünya Magazine under the title of 'Mitolojiden Yansıyanlar' (Reflections from Mythology). I compile paintings and sculptures matching with mytological tales. Best regards. Haluk Erdemol

    1. Haluk Bey, Arastirma alaniniz cok enteresan. Internetten ulasabilirmiyim yazilariniza?

  8. I live in São Paulo, Brazil and I am a publisher. I published some books on Turkish Literature here and had the opportunity to go to Stambul. I fell in love with the city and and the fantastic culture of Turkey! I'm working in promoting the Turkish culture and history here in Brazil, cause is not known yet...loved your site, that I discovered following Gul Irepoglu, one of the authors I published her -- "The concubine"... My website is www.saeditora.com.br Best, Eliana Sá

    1. Hi Eliana,
      Your efforts and kind words are very much appreciated. Gul Irepoglu is a dear friend and a great art historian and author. I hope you will publish more of her works. She can capture a perfect combination of romance, history and magic!


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