Turkish Arts

Turkish Arts

Turkish art, term for the independent Turkish art that formed within Islamic art under the Seljuks and especially under the Ottomans.

Classical Ottoman book illumination had reached its final climax in the early 18th century. European influences became noticeable in Turkish art as early as the 18th century, but no later than the 19th century. Turkish artists created portraits, still lifes and landscapes based on European models in the studio and as open-air painters. Until the establishment of an Ottoman art school in Istanbul (1883), painters emerged from state engineering schools or the war academy; some artists had acquired their knowledge in whole or in part abroad (especially in France and Italy). The best-known among the so-called military painters was Şeker Ahmed Pascha (* 1841, † 1907), who worked in the Paris studios of JL Gérôme and Gustave Boulanger (* 1824, † 1888) had studied. From 1872 Pascha organized the first art exhibitions in Istanbul, made sure that the state bought French paintings and put together the collection of the Dolmabahçe seraglio. The appointment of Osman Hamdi (* 1842, † 1910) as head of the art college in 1883, the most important Turkish representative of academic orientalism, created an important basis for the training of painters and sculptors. The Academy of Fine Arts emerged from the art college in 1924, into which the art college for women founded in Istanbul in 1914 was incorporated and which has formed the core of the Mimar Sinan University since 1982. Under M. Kemal Ataturk and İ. İnönü The visual arts experienced generous funding through state art purchases and scholarship programs. In 1937 the Resim ve Heykel Müzesi (Museum for Paintings and Sculptures) was opened in Istanbul. State galleries in İzmir (1973) and Ankara (1978) were not set up until much later and (as in other places) built up mainly with the help of Istanbul’s holdings. In the 1960s, private sponsors and patrons appeared for the first time. Istanbul has hosted the contemporary art biennale since 1987. Fore more information about Turkey and Middle East, please visit Animalerts.

Architecture: In architecture, which remained largely traditional until the 19th century, the “Ottoman Baroque” emerged in the course of the 18th century under Western (above all Italian) influence. Leading the way was the Armenian architectural family Balyan, who had been active for several generations and whose members, who were mainly trained abroad (France), contributed to the Europeanization of Turkish architecture, especially in the 19th century. Their massive, splendid buildings with a western face, overlaid with Ottoman floor plans, decisively shaped the cityscape of Istanbul (including Dolmabahçe Serail, Selimiye barracks). Towards the end of the 19th century, mostly foreign architects in Istanbul decorated the buildings with elements that were understood as “oriental” (Haydarpaşa hospital, Sirkeci train station). Raimondo D’Aronco (* 1857, † 1932) introduced the design language of Art Nouveau.

At the beginning of the 20th century, national tendencies became e.g. B. continued through the movement “First National Architecture”, represented in Istanbul by Mimar Kemalettin (* 1870, † 1927; Vakif Hanlari, near the Sirkeci train station) and Vedat Tek (* 1873, † 1942; large Istanbul Post). Since the 1920s, foreign architects (including C. Holzmeister) have been brought back into the country. Modern tendencies showed up v. a. in the new capital Ankara, in the expansion of which after 1927 numerous Western European architects were involved. As a result of urban planning competitions, new districts with a European character were created here (plans by C. Holzmeister, P. Bonatz , B. Taut, among others). The school and university building, which the Austrian Ernst Egli (* 1893, † 1973) directed as the architect of the Ministry of Education 1927-36, had a role model. E. Egli oriented itself towards the new building. In contrast, the government buildings built by C. Holzmeister in 1928–45 show a monumental style that was not used in his buildings in Austria and Germany. As for the development of painting, sculpture and graphics, the Istanbul Academy of Fine Arts was also of great importance in the field of architecture. Here, inter alia. Vedat Tek, Mimar Kemalettin, E. Egli, B. Taut, Henri Prost (* 1874, † 1959) and Turgut Cansever (* 1922, † 2009). The Turkish architects Seyfi Arkan (* 1908, † 1966) and Sedad Hakki Eldem (* 1908, † 1988) were among the pioneers of modern national architecture. In the 1940s, a second national trend formed, which was prepared by B. Taut’s numerous buildings ( including the Faculty of History and Philosophy in Ankara, 1936-40) as a synthesis between modernity and tradition. In the housing sector in Ankara z. B. were now less strict solutions (including Eldem). The development after 1945 is characterized by the international design language.

Fine arts: The “Association of Ottoman Painters” founded in 1909 had a decisive influence on the development of the fine arts in the 20th century, from which the school of the Turkish Impressionists or the “Generation of 1914” emerged. You owned, inter alia. the artists İbrahim Çalli (* 1882, † 1960), Avni Lifij (* 1884, † 1927), Namik İsmail (* 1892, † 1935) and Nazmi Ziya Güran (* 1881, † 1937) who received their training after 1908 partly with the help of government grants in Paris and Munich. Despite the influence of the European avant-garde (cubism, futurism, etc.), the artists remained largely unaffected by these currents; instead they used v. a. the impressionist landscape painting. The »D-Gruppe«, an association of painters and sculptors that took place in 1933 and did not represent a common style, but shared the rejection of academicism and naturalism and whose members were predominantly part of the Turkish avant-garde of the interwar period, achieved great importance. The most prominent representatives were Nurullah Berk (* 1906, † 1981), Cemal Tollu (* 1899, † 1968) and Zeki Faik İzer (* 1905, † 1988). Among her teachers and role models were F. Léger, A. Lhote and O. Friesz . A rich, painterly tradition, ranging from abstract expressionism to socially critical realism to pop art, has developed since the 1960s, with artists such as İzer, Fahr el Nissa Zeid (* 1901, † 1991), Cihat Burak (* 1915, † 1994), Selim Turan (* 1915, † 1994) and Adnan Çoker (* 1927) did important preparatory work. This was linked, inter alia, to Burhan Uygur (* 1940, † 1992), Nur Koçak (* 1941), Jale Erzen (* 1943), Halil Akdeniz (* 1944), Adem Genç (* 1944) and Hale Arpacioglu (* 1951). The socially critical realism was particularly represented by Neşet Günal (* 1923, † 2002). Turgut Zaim (* 1906, † 1974) gained popularity with naive depictions of Anatolian folk life. Fikret Mualla Saygi (* 1903, † 1967) became the most famous Turkish painter of his generation, for whom gouaches with scenes from Parisian life are particularly characteristic. As a commercial artist and caricaturist, a.o. Turhan Selçuk (* 1922, † 2010) was particularly prominent.

The modern school of sculpture goes back to Yervant Osgan (* 1855, † 1914), who worked at the Istanbul Academy. From 1937 to 1952 the German émigré R. Belling was the most influential teacher of young Turkish sculptors. Ataturk’s statues were among the first commissioned works for foreign and later also for Turkish sculptors such as Ali Hadi Bara (* 1906, † 1971) and Hüseyin Gezer (* 1920, † 2013). The abstract sculpture in the public space of the big cities found its place in the second half of the 20th century. Among the particularly well-known representatives of this direction are Zugti Müridoğlu (* 1906, † 1992) and İlhan Koman (* 1923, † 1986). With the specifics of the Islamic world of forms, inter alia. the sculptor Handan Börüteçene (* 1957) apart, but without ignoring the currents of contemporary international sculpture and sculpture.

Since the 1970s, Turkish contemporary art has been orienting itself, albeit with varying degrees of intensity, on the tendencies of Western contemporary art. The Turkish avant-garde is also increasingly concerned with installation, object and media art. International attention received, inter alia. Artists such as Füsun Onur (* 1938), Gülsün Karamustafa (* 1946), Hale Tenger (* 1960) and Ayşe Erkmen (* 1949), as well as Serhat Kiraz (* 1954) and Osman Dinç (* 1948) as well as those living abroad and working artists Adem Yilmaz (* 1955; Germany) and Selim Birsel (* 1963; France).

Among the modern handicraft branches, the pottery should be emphasized.

Turkish Arts