3. Art & Culture‎ > ‎

3.1. Fine Arts

 Fine Arts

 Painting

This means of expression, that dates back to the very earliest times, has also been employed by the Turks. It is known that the Turkish tribes on the steppes of Central Asia produced 'animal style' pictures, so called because of their subject matter. After the adoption of Islam, representational art was little used, on account of religious prohibitions, and decorative arts developed in its stead. For that reason, the concept of Turkish pictorial art tends to imply the art of painting that developed under the influence of the West and contemporary painting.

Even so, it must not be forgotten that certain works of art from earlier periods can actually be included in the category of pictorial art. A few, albeit not many, works have come down to us from the Seljuks of Anatolia. These are in the forms of reliefs, or drawings on tiles. An extensive use of the miniature art form can be observed in the Ottoman period. During the reign of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, we know that artists were brought in from the West to paint the portraits of the sultan and members of his family. Ottoman artists were also sent to Italy. Initiatives of this kind rather stalled in later periods, although the art of the miniature survived within its own terms of reference. Miniatures were used to embellish handwritten texts and had a representational aspect to them. The symbolic predominates over the descriptive in this art form.

The first experiments with painting in the Western sense were made at such military and engineering schools as the newly founded Mühendishane-i Berri-i Hümayun or Land Engineering School, and the Mekteb-i Harbiye, the present day Land Warfare Academy. Training began with the preparation of maps and technical drawing, and shortly afterwards moved on to include free drawing. Instructors were brought in from the West for that purpose. Turkish students were also sent Western countries, especially to France, to improve their knowledge.

Reformist sultans supported the moves towards Westernisation in the 19th century. Mahmud II had his own portrait painted and hung on the walls of state offices. Abdülaziz personally engaged in painting. The works of the early turkish painters, who generally had a military background, date from this time. On account of the rather frozen, amateurish feeling to their work these painters are known as the '19th century Turkish primitives.' They sometimes made use of photographs, and produced views of palace and mansion gardens and Istanbul. These figures include: Hüseyin Giritli, Hilmi Kasimpasali, Süleyman Sami, Ahmed Bedri, Salih Molla Aski, Osman Nuri Pasa, Ahmed Sekür, Selahattin Bey, Sefik Bey, Necip Bey, Münip Bey, Ahmed Ziya Sam, Ibrahim Bey, Mustafa Bey and Sevki Bey.

The most important development from the point of view of the art of painting was the establishment of the state school of art towards the end of the century. We know that a private school called the Painting Academy had been opened in Istanbul in 1874 by the artist Guillemet. Students at the school presented their works to the public at an exhibition in 1876. However, the first body to offer instruction in contemporary painting in Turkey was the Sanayi-i Nefise Mektebi, later known as the Fine Arts Academy and the present day Mimar Sinan University), which opened on March 1, 1883. Painter and museum expert Osman Hamdi Bey had been brought in to head the school the previous year, and it was written that the school would be offering courses in 'painting, carving, architecture and engraving.' Training in painting thenceforth tended to move to that school and away from the military academies.

Turkish painters first came together under a common body in the 20th century. The association set up by Turkish painters was the Ottoman Painters Society, established in 1908. The name was changed to the Turkish Painters Union in 1921, to the Turkish Fine Arts Union in 1926, and again to the Fine Arts Union in 1929. Organisations of this kind allowed solidarity between artists to emerge and provided the opportunity to engage in exchanges of ideas, and later supported progressive trends.

Following the establishment of the Republic, work in the field of painting was supported. The Sanayi-i Nefise Mektebi was turned into the Fine Arts Academy in 1928. The bringing in of instructors from Western countries, and the sending of Turkish students abroad, continued during this period. Among the artists who graduated from the Fine Arts Academy in the early years of the Republic were such figures as Seref Akdik, Refik Epikman, Mahmut Fehmi Cûda, Ali Avni Çelebi, Zeki Kocamemi and Turgut Zaim. A large number of artists produced by the Gazi Educational Institute (the present day Gazi University in Ankara) Painting Department, set up to deal with the lack of qualified teachers, took up positions in the second painting school. Painting courses are today offered in the fine arts departments of a number of universities.

From the 1950s on, a wide variety of artistic trends, movements and ideas can be seen. Artists influenced by these different trends produced various works, though none was able to establish superiority over the others. Malik Aksel came to be known for his research in the field of popular science. Turgut Zaim established his own style with his landscapes. Bedri Rahman Eyüboglu produced works inspired by handcrafts. Dabri Berkel is prominent in the field of abstract art. Ibrahim Balaban is a self-taught artist inspired by the poet Nazim Hikmet. Fikret Mualla, who worked in Paris, proved himself in the international arena. Neset Günal is known for his realistic depictions of people in rural areas. Adnan Çoker turned in the direction of abstract art, and Salih Acar was heavily influenced by nature.

Recently, artists such as Mehmet Pesen, Kayihan Keskinok, Nedim Günsür, Fahir Aksoy, Sadan Bezeyis, Nuri Abaç, Mustafa Aslier, Turan Erol, Orhan Peker, Ruzin Gerçin, Ömer Uluç, Özdemir Altan, Dinçer Erimez, Mehmet Güleryüz, Devrim Erbil and Altan Gürman, as well as members of a later generation such as Nese Erdok, Oya Katoglu, Mustafa Pilevneli, Süleyman Saim Tekcan, Burhan Uygur, Ergin Inan, Gürkan Coskun (known as 'Komet', Gülsüm Karamustafa and Balkan Naci Islimyeli have all made a name for themselves. Another artist well known abroad for his forward-looking works is Bedri Baykam, from a younger generation still.

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 Sculpture

Sculpture, or carving, is the art of producing three-dimensional figures by the use of a variety of tools, and transmitting emotions or ideas by means of the aesthetic values employed. The resulting three-dimensional structure may represent concrete or abstract realities, and be representational or decorative. Sculpture has been employed since the most ancient times for the purpose of bringing an individual or event to life.

The Turks were skilled workers of stone since the very earliest times. The oldest examples of this are to be found in Central Asian art, and one thinks of the Orhun monumental statues in this context. Carved stone representations of the human bodies are also examples of early sculpture. Following the adoption of Islam, representation in sculpture, as in other art forms, was abandoned under the rules of the religion, being replaced by decorative arts such as reliefs, engraving and inlay. Even so, representations of the human form can still be seen in Anatolian Seljuk sculpture. Gravestones and marker stones were the most finely carved and beautifully decorated forms in the Ottoman period. One can also think of items intended to serve a practical function, such as fountains, mosque ablution fountains, pools and the like in this context. Turning to contemporary Turkish sculpture, modern three-dimensional arrangements that developed under the influence of the West spring to mind.

The first body to offer training in the modern art of sculpture was the Sanayi-i Nefise Mektebi, or Fine Arts School. Oskan Yervant Efendi was one of the first Ottoman citizens and sculptures to teach there. The artists who emerged from the school up until the declaration of the Republic included Ihsan Özsoy, Isa Behzat, Mahir Tomruk and Nejat Sirel. Except for Behzat, they were all productive during the Republican period, and were also sent abroad as part of the tradition of the school that had produced them, and their services were employed in teaching.

Contemporary Turkish artists number such figures as: Ali Hada Bara, Zühtü Müridoglu, Nusret Suman, Ahmet Kenan Yontuç, Hüsyin Özkan (known as Hüseyin Anka), the overseas-based Ilhan Koman, Hüseyin Gezer, Mehmet Sadi Çalik, Kuzgun Acar and Saim Bugay. Women artists such as Sabiha Bengütas, Nermin Faruki, Lerzan Bengisu and Günseli Aru have also emerged.

Atatürk's Promotion of Sculpture

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic, gave priority to reforms in education and art so that Turkish art, long influenced by Arab and Persian civilizations and later by the west, would at last create its own original forms. Atatürk believed in the arts as a powerful moral force, essential to the new nation's health. He attached a special significance to the fine arts. After the establishment of the Republic, the following measures were taken to promote sculpture:

1. Architectural studies were expanded under the guidance of the Turkish Historical Association.
New discoveries unearthed in the course of excavations expanded the horizons of the sculptors and other artists. Excavations led to the discovery of numerous new archaeological sites in Turkey, some dating back to 8000 B.C. The sites in the Yasemic region are especially compelling in regards to sculpture. Statues in this region bear strong evidence of specialization and a high degree of skill. Workshops dating back to 2000 B.C. in Alacahoyuk, Kalin Kaya, Bogazkoy and Tilmen, excavated by Von der Ostein in1926, indicate a highly developed form of sculpture.

2. Students were sent abroad to foreign sculpturing centres in Paris, Munich, and other cities.
First to travel abroad were Ratip Asir, A. Hadi Bara, Zuhtu Muridoglu and Nusret Suman. Simultaneously, the services of foreign sculptors were used. In 1937, Belling came to Turkey to escape from Hitler's Nazi Germany. His students included Huseyin Ozkan, Hakki Atamulu,Yavuz Gorey, Rahmi Artimex, Illan Koman, Zerrin Bolukbasi, Huseyin Geizer, Turgut Pura, Sadi Clik.

3. A more artistic environment was created. 'Art awareness' articles published in various newspapers and magazines increased communication between sculptors and the public and heightened interest in this art form. Atatürk instituted various awards for sculpture and opened new art schools, training institutes, museums, state exhibitions and galleries.

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 Photography

Photography, which has a history dating back to the 1850s, experienced a rapid development during the early decades of the Republic Period. New techniques developed in the West were imported and the press started using photographs extensively. Turkish photographers of the period started to take pictures of the daily life of people, towns and cities and historical buildings in Turkey. Landscape photography also developed. The first photography competition was organized in 1932. Meanwhile courses in photography were included in the curriculum of schools and photographers' associations were established in the 1930s.

Photographer Ara Güler, Cemal Isiksel, Nurettin Erkilic, Selahattin Giz, Limasollu Naci, Sinasi Barutcu, Ihsan Erkilic and Baha Gelenbevi are the first important photographers of the Early Republic Period. The first seeds of artistic photography were sown by the generation of artists who were raised in the 1950s.

One of the most important photographers of this generation is Ara Guler, who looks at local subjects from the point of view of a contemporary artist and with remarkable skill. Recognized as adistinguished artist not only in Turkey but throughout the world, Ara Guler, who is regarded by some critics as being among the best ten photographers in the world, has also taken pictures for various world-famous photography magazines. Ozan Sagdic, a press photographer who has also taken promotional photographs, produced original works illustrating various parts of Turkey. Gultekin Cizgen, who made extensive use of localmotifs, attracted attention with his graphic works and his photographs dealing with social subjects. Sahin Kaygun, who exhibited a rather unique approach to photography with his incessant search for originality, used fantastic, symbolic and graphic styles; exhibited his polaroid works and became the pioneer of this technique in Turkey. Atilla Torunoglu in black and white photographs, Mustafa Kapkin in studio-tricks, Halim Kulaksiz in color pictures, Reha Guney in architectural photography, Fikret Otyam in journalism and Sami Guner in tourism photography, are among the other noteworthy photo-graphers in contemporary Turkey. Ersin Alok, Semsi Guner, Sabit Kalfagil, Isa Celik, Sakir Eczacibasi, Cengiz Karliova, Ibrahim Demirel, Halim Kulaksiz, Mehmet Bayhan, Cerkes Karadag, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Ramazan Ozturk and Coskun Aral have also attracted attention and acclaim with their works.

The oldest and best-established photography organization in Turkey is IFSAK (Istanbul Photographers and Cinema Amateurs' Association). Similar associations such as AFSAD-Ankara, AFAD-Adana, Foto Forum-Trabzon, and KASK-Kocaeli also have influential activities.

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 Engraving

Used in pressing and art productions as a printing technique, gravure can b defined as graving type, hole printing or carving print. The view to be printed is transformed onto wood, metal or stone plate by means of various methods (hand graving or acid saturation) and then ink is laid on the plate. When the surface of the plate is cleaned the ink stays only in engraved parts and the view on the plate is applied onto the paper. Since its start of use in the 15th century, engraving has been intensively used and developed by artists until present time. At present several artists benefit from engraving techniques. Used in reproduction of pictures in the books printed until the end of 19th century, engraving is used as printing technique in the form of photo graving or titruk press (rotogravure).

a. Travel arts and travel albums
Gravures contained in travel arts have been published as a separate album or their lithography album.

b. Magazines and annuals
The news about Ottoman Empire published in high quality magazines of Western world were decorated and enriched with gravures. During 1854-1856 Crimea War and 1877-1878 Ottoman-Russia Wars the views of Istanbul and main life in Istanbul as well as views from other cities of the Empire were published in those magazines. Same examples of those magazines are "L'Illustration" published in Paris, "The illustrated London news" and "The graphic" published in London. In addition, there are two high quality magazines in Greek, namely "Hesperos" published in Leipzig and "He brettanikos aster" published in London, which contained magnificent gravures about Istanbul. Serveti Fünun magazine published in Istanbul is also one of the magazines published with gravures and lithography.

c. Arts about special subjects

One of the main arts in this type is publication containing historical and social subjects about Ottoman Empire. Among the samples are "Tableau general de l'Empire Othoman" by Mouradgea d'Ohsson, "Thi history of the growth and decay of the Ottoman Empire" by Dimitri Kantemir "Cassell's illustrated history of the Russo-Turkish war" about Turkish-Russion War of 1877-1878 and "Russed et Turcs: la guerre d'Orient".

 

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 Minatures and Engravings of the Ottoman Empire

Minatures and engravings are a form of picture art. There are techniques in the ideas and approches to drawing. They have played a part in the developement of picture art and have provided influence. They bring forth the existence of history in different geographical regions and represent various cultural environments.Minatures are colourful , engravings are black and white. The meeting point of any two art forms is the formation of surface art.The political , social economic and cultural life of the societies and events depicted and the beauty art and aesthetics are reflected upon our times. It can be said that : This art form is like a certificate of history reaching our times from the past.It is a source of human history. Picture art is a treasure.

The origin of minatures and minature art is in Asia.Turkish picture art is one type.History has been brought forward by Turkish societies and over time the Turkish Islamic societies have had an effect on Iran and Mezopotamia and regions.They became widespread throughout the arab and indian environments and have their own specialities and characteristics.They reached the highest level during the first three hundred years of the ottoman empire.

In Asian Turkish socieities the first examples of picture art occured in the years 10,000 - 3,000 MÖ ( Before M ). The first examples were rock pictures and animal motiffs drawn on hunting and household implements decorated with fish spines.In the 2,000's (MÖ) The basic trend was signs and generally pictures with eagle motiff embellishments.In this period paint production improved and red paint was discovered. It began to be used on pictures. In the Hun empire and particularly the western Hun state the existing Gökturk application of original engraving and embellishing improved. " bediz " was at the top of this art form and it became known as " Bedizci". In the 8th century ( MS) (After M ) the first examples of Turkish picture art were Uigher fresks. The minature art of the Turkish societies who had entered the Islamic environment was generally influenced by the Uigher culture. It became widespread in Selchuk times.It was used to picturize the subjects and embellish the written material. The people who strived in this art form were given the name "Nakkash" Sihabüddin Savasi, Haci el-Mevlevi, of Aynüddevle, Ahmed of Konya, Selchuk of Anatolia were the famous "nakkashes"

The books that have reached our times from the 12th and 13th centuries and have miature embellishments are " Kitab al Hasais" " Kitab firmaret el hiyal el hendiseye" " yarka ve Gülsah"

The Ottoman Empire

Generally three sources reported the political , social cultural and military life, the victories and the events which occured in the times of the Sultans. They wrote and provided human history.They are : Chroniclers such as Asikpasazade, Percevi and Katip Çelebi. Travelers such as Evliya Çelebi and like Arili, Eflatun , lokman, Ali and Talikzade. The minatures depicted the things explained or the real events occuring in these written artifacts. With this approach a view of any situation, subjct or event was given both by the explanation of the historian and in the minature embellishment.it provides the written artifact with authenticity and increases the hitoric value.The most definate speciality of the minatures is that they are a certificate of the events, anexhibiti,on of the strengh and greatness in the lives of the Sultans and they put forward the way of life of the society.Every minature provides value and a historic certificate to the events portrayed.

The protection, care of and support for art was a result of the turkish ideology and ethics.The Ottoman empire was accepted as a public foundation and a public service for the arts.They were organised in connection withthe palace. It was the place of " Nakkash" houses and the place of foriegn "Nakkash" works. The top or the top group worked in managed workshops and in these "Nakkash" houeses minatures were produced by teamwork and they were of the highest grade. Turkish minatures stood apart from the minatures of other Islamic countriesby there looks, colours, the techniques,drawings and motiffes. The way of depicting was clear and realistic, natural and man made artifacts (such as arcchitecture) social events and rellationships could be portrayed in the finest detail.In an original method art was created on maps , history ,geography and other subjects were portrayed.

From the beginning of the Ottoman Empire minature art moved parralel to developement andpassed through various levels and phases. It became widespread with the interest and support of the Sultans Managers. At every level it's uniqueness was protected The works of Sinan bey, Matrakçi,Nasuh, Nigari, Nakkas, Hasan,Talikzade Subhi Çelebi, Nadiri,,Levni, AbdullahBuhari are the masterpieces of Turkish minature art that have reached our times.

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 Architecture

The Turks produced masterpieces of architecture during the Seljuk and Ottoman periods. The monumental buildings created by Turkish architects since the eleventh century have a distinguished place in the heritage of world architecture. The Selimiye and the Suleymaniye Mosques built by Mimar (Architect) Sinan, who is the symbol of Ottoman architecture, are masterworks reflecting the degree of maturity which the Ottoman architecture had reached in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in dealing with space and mass compositions. In fact, classical Ottoman style puts forth universal leaps and values.

The Early Republic Period Turkish architecture which was dominated by the First National Architectural Move- ment until 1930, developed as a continuation of Ottoman architecture. Architects of this period erected public buildings to serve the needs of the major Anatolian cities in the wake of the Turkish War of Independence. These architects who seem to have borrowed certain elements of Seljuk and Ottoman architecture, and who were led by Kemaleddin Bey and Vedat Tek, assigned special importance to facades which they decorated, sometimes elaborately, with stone carvings and ceramic tiles. The public buildings, some of which are standing today, reflect the pecularities of the First National Movement. After the 1930s, foreign architects began to dominate architectural activities. They brought functional designs and an austere look to buildings. Flat roofs were preferred; the facades were bereft of ornaments; large windows were used and almost invariably, buildings were erected in a design of which simplicity and function were given top priority. Most of these foreign architects also worked as instructors and professors in schools of architecture and thus trained a new generation of architects. Meanwhile the Turkish architects of the 1930s mostly followed these imported masters.

The Second National Architectural Movement, between 1940-1950, unlike the first, focused on some of the essential elements of design utilized in the civilian buildings of traditional Turkish architecture rather than merely on ornamental elements.

The architects of this "movement" used structural elements such as eaves, wooden latticework, brackets and windows and carefully searched for a balance between the architectural ideas and elements they utilized. A meticulous workmanship in their works attracts attention. They were also careful about selecting the proper construction material to fit regional conditions. This facilitated and provided opportunities for the development of a local construction materials industry. The Macka Sark Kahvesi (Cafe) and various waterfront mansions on the Bosphorus are among the distinguished works of Sedat Hakki Eldem, one of the most important architects of the period. Emin Onat who is another noteworthy architect of this period produced works both with a regional and national perception. His Anitkabir (Atatürk's Mausoleum) project in Ankara, which he designed together with Orhan Arda, is the most important monumental masterpiece of the period.

In the early 1950s, the influence of the Second National Architectural Movement rapidly faded and the influence of Western architecture intensified. This period, which lasted until the 1960s, and during which an exploration process in education, organization, design and application was predominant, can be regarded as a period of preparation for the emergence of contemporary Turkish architecture. Since the 1960s Turkish architects have been involved in an unending exploration of concepts, scientific principles and aesthetic values in architectural design. This resulted in the emergence of a myriad of approaches and tendencies and led to a dynamic and productive pluralism in architecture. No single vision and no single movement dominates the contemporary Turkish architectural scene. While making contributions emanating from their own creative resources, and from their unique personal or stylistic tendencies, contemporary Turkish architects have tried almost every architectural approach, from the use of fantastic and/or irrational forms to expressionist approaches, from creating monumental symbols to the utilization of traditional elements and from an arabesque search to postmodernist designs.

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