09 January 2016
Oriental Beauty. Salut de Constantinople [No. 9701], Postcard sent on 21 February 1907 from İstanbul to France. Seyhun Binzet Collection.
The various states of viewing nudity entered the Ottoman world on postcards before paintings. These postcards appeared in the 1890s, and became widespread in the 1910s, following the proclamation of the Second Constitutional Monarchy, traveling from hand to hand, city to city. They constitute the first examples of bodies as display. As seen in postcards of popular wrestlers of the period, this was not unique to women alone.
Initiated in the Ottoman Empire through the Austrian Max Fruchtermann in the 1890s, postcard publication reached a voluminous production over time and culminated in a wide repertoire extending from cityscapes to nudes through the works of leading names including Ludwigshon, Zellich, and Rochat.
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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