Portraits from the Empire

The movement known as Orientalism in European art, which appeared in conjunction with the Romanticist movement of the 19th century, focused on the East, primarily in the lands of the Ottoman Empire. Even long before the rise of Orientalism in European art, many European artists, fascinated by their first glimpses of the mysterious East and by the Turquerie fashion which was the result of the new relations with the Ottoman world. For nearly two hundred years, starting from the 18th century, numbers of painters, some of whom became known as the Bosphorus Painters, worked intensively in the lands of the Empire and depicted the Ottoman world in its various aspects, consequently engraving those images in mankind's visual memory.

Portraits from the Empire exhibition catalogue sheds light on a special part of this opulent world, bringing us face to face with the peoples of the Ottoman world, their portraits and portrayals, sometimes very familiar and sometimes remote, even nearly foreign, in their physiognomies. These paintings, most of them created before the eye of the camera replaced the human eye, in the times when observing, studying, interpreting and depicting the world was the priority of painters, present the lost faces of an era long past with amazing reality and vividness. The exhibition catalogue is divided into two main sections: "Sultans, Ambassadors, Painters" and "In the World of the Women". There is also an artist glossary at the end of the catalogue.

Date of Publication: 2nd Print. 2006 
Number of pages: 155
ISBN: 975-9123-02-9


6 A Few Words about the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation and Its Collections

9 Foreword

10-87 I. Sultans, Ambassadors, Painters

88-149 II. In the World of the Women

150 The Painters

Portraits From The Empire

Throughout the ages, the Orient has attracted the interest of the West. European intellectual and artists have been mesmerized since the earliest times by this presumably mysterious and relatively closed world. As a natural consequence, during various periods many artists, either by travelling themselves or by travelling in their imaginations, sought to discover the essence of the Orient, and depicted or expressed in their works either the real Orient or their own visions of it.

Portraits From The Empire