Gallery

The Muse Meets the Artist. The Art meets Istanbul

3131f607c569c2b2490640bca6403af9Orhan Gürel

Late Summer. Late Sunday. Late… Still not too late for art. Not too late for dreams. Never too late for Istanbul. Depicted in blue and orange. Cold and hot. Rational and passionate. One muse, several artists. Frozen moments in warm rays. Past and present. History and future. Tradition and modernity. It’s all here. No technical terms, only paint drops and feelings from someone who loves Istanbul and art. Far from being an expert, grounded only in the reality of subjective emotions aroused from less or more famous canvases. I made a selection of my favourite paintings, which have the power to make me dream about their muse. About the world’s capital, as Napoleon used to call it. About Istanbul.

I’ve unwittingly chosen paintings dominated by orange and blue. After a brief reflection I’ve concluded that these have to be the colours of Istanbul. At least for me. I see Istanbul in orange and blue. Whether we talk about tradition, warm sunny days, adventure, passion, rust, noisy people and music, electric burst… or silence, modernity, reason, dreams, refreshing waves binding the icy sky, it’s all Istanbul. Orange and blue. Orhan Gürel knew this, and added to his blue Istanbul mild rays of orange. He melted the contrasting colours until it was impossible to separate them (see the first painting).

Another painter who was inspired by Istanbul and whom I admire is Erbil Devrim. His unique painting style is somehow opposing Gürel’s style by tracing clear lines instead of blurred contours. His originality caught the attention of the international audience. According to Quadro Art, in 1968 Devrim was elected Turkey’s “Young Artist Of The Year” and in 1991 he was awarded the prestigious title of Turkey’s State Artist. [1] In my opinion these are two of his best pieces:

devrim erbil

gOrange or blue? Or both? I cannot decide!

My list couldn’t ignore the painter who was awarded “The Most Successful Artist of Turkey” in 2004, Ismail Acar. In his paintings the “East appears to meet the West, with tens of thousands of years’ history viewed by him in a contemporary way . Ismail Acar applies contemporary media techniques, including computer technology, to traditional painting techniques.” [2] The following painting is without question my no. 1 from his work! It gives me a dreamy insight of reality, without drawing a line between fantasy and truth, providing the opportunity to choose which Istanbul fits us better. The inside one, the outside one? The upside down Istanbul?

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However my favourite paintings depicting Istanbul were created by the Ukrainian-born Russian-Armenian painter Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky  (1817-1900). Tutt’arta tells us his story: “In 1845, Aivazovsky went to İstanbul upon the invitation of Sultan Abdülmecid I, a city he was to travel to eight times between 1845-1890. During his long sojourn in İstanbul, Aivazovsky was commissioned for a number of paintings as a court painter by the Ottoman Sultans Abdülmecid, Abdulaziz and Abdulhamid, 30 of which are currently on display in the Ottoman Imperial Palace, the Dolmabahce Museum and many other museums in Turkey.” [3] When I’m looking at these paintings I feel like travelling back to time. They nurture my curiosity about the Ottoman past and flatter my imagined memory. istanbul ivan as

Ivan Constantinovich Aivazovsky + Ива́н Константи́нович Айвазо́вский - Tutt'Art@ (35)

 

Is there anything more beautiful than Constantinople bathing in the warm sunset rays? I would love to have one of this painting in my living room! Although it’s quite risky…as I might be unable to take my eyes off this master-pieces…

What about you? Which one do you prefer?

Bibliography:

  1. Erbil, Devrim, Quadro Fine Art Gallery (visited: 31.08.2014)
  2. The Evolution of Turkish Art, “The Art History Archive” (visited: 31.08.2014)
  3. Ivan Aivazovsky | Seascape and landscape painter, “Tutt’arta” (visited: 31.08.2014)

Colours of life and…stairs a la Turca

143743If someone asks me “How is your life?”(Hayatın nasıl?) the best answer (cevap) I can give is “Very colourful” (Çok renkli), most of the time (zaman) painted (boyamak) in bright (parlak) and serene (rahat) colours like blue (mavi) or green (yeşil), sunbathed in yellow (sarı) because my first love (așk) is the sun (güneş), splashed with orange (turuncu) refreshing orange (portokal) juice, fired with red (kırmızı) enthusiasm (heves), sweetened with pink (pembe) childish smiles and purple (mor) dreams (hayal), powered with a great amount of white (beyaz) determination (azim)… and only extremely rarely (nadiren) stained with grey (gri) or black (siyah) melancholy (melankoli) and fears (korku).

We (biz) all live (yaşamak) in a world (dünya) of colours, having the opportunity (imkan) to choose (seçmek) the proper shades (gölge) and quantities (miktar) of paint for our life’s masterpiece (başyapıt). We can play (oynamak) with colours as we wish… we can throw all our ‘raw’ feelings (duygu) on the canvas or follow our rationality’s (rasyonalite) rigid methods of painting… What we should keep in mind (akılda tutmak) while handling the paint brush (boya fırçası) is that we cannot erase (silmek) our actions (eylem) and that we have only one canvas… So we should be very careful (dikkatlı) not to waste (boşa harcamak) our time and space on the canvas with shapes (şekil) and shades which do not represent (temsil etmek) us, creating a false (yanlış) and unsatisfying painting, with its colours melting (erimek) in a dark (koyu) and dirty (kirli) mixture. It’s hard (zor) to be the artist (sanatçı) of your own life, to manage events (olay), feelings (duygu) and facts in a proper manner, to take sincere (dürüst) decisions (karar) and to make our mind (akıl) see eye to eye with our heart (kalp). If we succeed (başarmak) our inner painting will be reflected (yansıtmak) in our ‘outside’ world as well, colouring our lenses (mercek) and everything that surrounds (çevrelemek) us. Our ‘outside’ world follows our ‘inside’ world. And vice versa (tersine).

I love colours, and probably that is another reason (sebep) why I love Turkey. It’s a colourful and lively (ruhlu) country (ülke). From its  people (halk), cities, bazaars to its… stairs (merdiven). Everything is splashed with colours. The wave (dalga) of rainbow (gökkuşağı) stairs hit Turkey in 2013, when a retired (emekli) engineer (mühendis), Huseyin Cetinel, painted a massive staircase in rainbow hues in Istanbul. Even though the rainbow stairs became the symbol (simge) of the anti-government resistance (direnme) and of the LGBT community, the original purpose (amaç) was to make people smile (gülmek). Today there are many rainbow stairs all around Turkey, colouring happiness (mutluluk) on faces (yüz) and souls (can).

Image source: [1]