TODAY’S – Exhibition provides clues into lives of Osman Hamdi’s circle

Exhibition provides clues into lives of Osman Hamdi’s circleThe guestbook of Ottoman painter, intellectual and statesman Osman Hamdi’s youngest child is on view at a historical exhibition at Ko University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (AnaMed) in Istanbul.On display until July 10, the show “NazlI’s Guestbook, Osman Hamdi Bey’s Circle” focuses on the guest book of NazlI Hamdi, which features anecdotes from Osman Hamdi’s relatives, colleagues and acquaintances, according to a press release from the exhibition organizers. Curated by Edhem Eldem, a professor of history at Istanbul’s BoIazii University who is also the grandson of Osman Hamdi’s niece Azize HanIm, the show provides rare insight into the cultural environment of the time and clues into the important personalities of the period.English writer-archaeologist and spy Gertrude Bell Ahmed Ihsan, the founder of the illustrated Ottoman magazine Servet-i Funun Ottoman poet Nigar HanIm and Rupprecht, the crown prince of Bavaria are among the over 30 figures exhibition visitors can learn about.NazlI Hamdi, the youngest child of Osman Hamdi and Marie Naile HanIm, kept the notebook from 1907 to 1911. She offered it to guests who would come to Hamdi’s home, asking them to sign and add a few words inside.One of the significant aims of the show is to present the connection between Osman Hamdi, his daughter and the Hamdi’s guests. Another mission of the show is to shed light on a part of life of a girl who grew up in an elite Ottoman family influenced by Western traditions, a girl who lived through the early periods of the Turkish Republic.Categorized under three main subjects — NazlI’s personality and family, the famed villa of Eskihisar and its garden, and Osman Hamdi’s last journey to Europe, which took place from July to October 1909 — the exhibition helps the viewer better appreciate the entire content and context of the notebook. NazlI Hamdi carried the book while accompanying her father on his last journey to Europe, which included visits to Munich, Lucerne, Lausanne and Paris, and it also features information about lesser-known historical figures of the time.The exhibition introduces each person in the notebook with historical documents, images and objects. The visitors of the show can also see a digitized version of the book so viewers can examine the guestbook page by page.Though the exhibition seems to adopt an arbitrary narrative style, unexpected connections between the guests pop up suddenly. Apart from recreating the circle of an Ottoman family, the show is a historical effort that pushes the limits of exploring a single but complex document. A book penned by Eldem and published by Homer Publishing House accompanies the exhibition.Born in 1842, Osman Hamdi was a prominent figure who contributed to the art and development of museum management in Turkey. An archeologist as well, this intellectual was the founder of the Istanbul Archaeology Museums and of Sanayi-i Nefise Mektebi (Istanbul Academy of Fine Arts), which is the prestigious Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts of today.Known for his famed painting “KaplumbaIa Terbiyecisi” (The Tortoise Trainer), Osman Hamdi uses an Orientalist perspective in his paintings, which are much appreciated in the West as well. Trained under French Orientalist painters Jean-Léon Gérôme and Gustave Boulanger, he showcased works at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1867. He carried out excavations in different locations, including at Nemrut DaII in southeastern Anatolia and in Lebanon.“NazlI’s Guestbook, Osman Hamdi Bey’s Circle” can be visited at AnaMed Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and from noon to 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free. For further information, go to professor Edhem Eldem is the curator of “NazlI’s Guestbook, Osman Hamdi Bey’s Circle.” (Photo: Today’s Zaman)

SOURCE: Todays Zaman

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