28 January 2016
Although mythological themes are not commonly encountered in Turkish painting, it is possible to see variations of widespread themes such as the Venus at her Toilet. As a theme particularly emerging in Renaissance painting, Venus at her Toilet is not only the symbol of the beauty of a woman admiring herself in the mirror, but also contains an implicit message alluding to her awareness of being observed. This awareness almost lends legitimacy to the figure’s self-display. According to John Berger, the mirror in these paintings is included as a symbol of the fact that women see themselves as object of display: “Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. (…) The surveyor of woman in herself is male: the surveyed female. Thus she turns herself into an object – and most particularly an object of vision: a sight.”
Bare, Naked, Nude: A Story of Modernization in Turkish Painting took place at the Pera Museum between 25 November 2015 - 07 February 2016.
A series of small and rather similar nudes Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu and Eren Eyüboğlu produced in the early 1930s almost resemble a ‘visual conversation’ that focus on a pictorial search. It is also possible to find the visual reflections of this earlier search in the synthesis Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu reached with his stylistic abstractions in the 1950s.
Men were the first nudes in Turkish painting. The majority of these paintings were academic studies executed in oil paint; they were part of the education of artists that had finally attained the opportunity to work from the live model. The gender of the models constituted an obstacle in the way of characterizing these paintings as ‘nudes’.
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