AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 6, Number 4. October  2022                                Pp.89-101

The Image of the Artist in Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red and Irving Stone’s The Agony and Ecstasy

Department of English Language
College of Education for Women, University of Baghdad
Baghdad, Iraq


This paper examines the influence of Renaissance themes and techniques in art on miniaturist painting in Istanbul and on shaping Michelangelo’s attitude to sculptor and painting in Italy. The clash between Eastern and Western painting techniques is part of the conflict in Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red. The novel is set in sixteenth-century Istanbul and the main characters are miniaturists who inherited the Persian style of painting. Istanbul people were very religious and the Muslim miniaturists felt unconfident and constantly tortured about their paintings. Artists were considered trying to imitate God and create their own perception of the world. The miniaturists of the novel are commissioned to adopt Venetian art with its emphasis on lifelike painting and individuality. Consequently they suffer of whether their creative work is considered blasphemous, or not. My Name is Red is juxtaposed to Irving Stone’s biographical novel The Agony and the Ecstasy. The novel is set in approximately the same time that the events took place in My Name is Red. It concerns the life and work of the Renaissance Florentine painter and sculptor Michelangelo. The study examines the cultural atmosphere that determined Michelangelo’s approach to art. It also addresses how religion has been the main source of inspiration for Michelangelo’s themes, and consequently it was the medium through which he presented his own version of man. Both novels are examined according to the relation of Renaissance humanism to art and religion.

Cite as:

Sulaiman, M.Q. (2022). The Image of the Artist in Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red and Irving Stone’s The Agony and Ecstasy.  Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 6 (4) 89-101.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol6no4.7


Atil, E. (1973). Ottoman miniature painting under Sultan Mehamed II. Ars Orientalis, 9, 103-120.

Badu, K. D. (2017). Humanism – with special reference to Renaissance and Enlightenment. Global Journal for Research Analysis, 6(9), 108-110.

Çetintaş, B. M. (2006). Defying expectations: Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy and Orhan Pamuk’s The Black Book and My Name is Red. Journal of Arts and Sciences, 1(6), 51-61.

Çiçekoglu, F. (2003). A pedagogy of two ways of seeing: A confrontation of ‘word and image’ in My Name is Red. The Journal of Aesthetic Education, 37(3), 1-20.

Eknoyan, G. (2000). Michelangelo: Art, anatomy, and the kidney. Kidney International, 57, 1190-1201. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1755.2000.00947.x.

Eriş, E. (2019). Habitus and translators: Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red. Journal of Translation Studies, 27, 132-151.

Kamins, J. (2015). Among the Prophets: Michelangelo’s David. American University.

Kim, S. (2009). My Name is Red. In N. Anadolu-Okur (Ed.), Essays Interpreting the Writings of Novelist Orhan Pamuk (pp. 53-65). Edwin Mellen.

Kárpáti, Z. (2019). Michelangelo, the David, and Donatello. In Z. Kárpáti & E. Nagy (Eds.), Triumph of the Body: Michelangelo and Sixteenth-Century Italian Draughtsmanship (pp. 67-85). Museum of Fine Arts.

Pamuk, O. (2002). My Name is Red (E. M. Göknar, Trans.). Faber and Faber.

Raudino, G. (2007). Michelangelo and the Hands of God. Art Times, 23(8), 5-8.

Sajjad, N., & Perveen, A. (2019). Private heterotopia and the public space: An incongruity explored through Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red. SAGE Open, 9(1) 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F2158244018824490

Soergel, P. M. (2005). Arts & Humanities through the Eras: Renaissance Europe 1300–1600. Thomson Gale.

Stone, I. (1961). The Agony and Ecstasy. Doubleday & Company.


Asst. Prof. Maha Qahtan Sulaiman, Ph.D., teaches at the Department of English Language, College of Education for Women, University of Baghdad. Her major is English Literature. She received her Ph. D. degree from University Malaya, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. ORCiD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6994-987X