of Turkish painting, starting from mid 19th century
till the beginning of the 20th century, can be
said to be very active. The very first painters
who formed the art milieu were from military and
civilian schools. Some were educated abroad. A
Christian minority and “Levantine” artists as
well as European painters living in Istanbul,
influenced the art milieu. The School of Fine
Arts was opened with Osman Hamdi Bey’s
attempts in 1883, and also thanks to him, depiction
of human figure was established. Turkish painting
developed through different trends.. The first
“nudes” appeared with the “1914 generation”. School
of Fine Arts for Girls was opened at that period.
Young artists sent to Europe came back inspired
by contemporary trends such as Fauvism, Cubism,
Expressionism, and by the different forms of non-figurative
art which led to two new trends, the “Independent
Painters and Sculptors Association” and later
the “Group D”. A reaction appeared against the
western tendencies during the 1940s: the notions
that first came forward was originality, regionalism
and nationalism. Artists revive themes taken from
rural life, and motives are inspired from folk
art, calligraphy and miniature painting. From
the 1960s on, the Turkish painting which gained
great mobility with many artists with different
styles is advancing towards a promising future.
During the last twenty years, numerous art galeries
have opened attracting a large public of connoisseurs
Turgut Zaim “Mother and her Children”
Ibrahim Çalli “Warriors during the War of Inependance”
Marble is a traditional and abstract Turkish
art called Ebru which originates
from Central Asia.
The technique uses paint with colors floating
and expanding at the surface of the water
in a deep tray.
Ottoman Turks developed the art of ceramics, tiles
and china, inspired by the Far-East countries.
They created a beautiful decorative style of ceramic
tiles for the purpose of decorating walls. Iznik
(Nicea) was the largest tile production center
(in the 17th Century there were up to 340 workshops
16th century Iznik tiles
Takkeci Mosque -Istanbul
Late 16th century
polychrome Iznik mug
First half of the 19th century
copies of ancients are successfully reproduced
as well as new original pieces of high quality
in both Iznik and Kütahya.
has become an important pottery center.
For centuries carpets have been used in the countries
of the Orient, and have always been held in high
making started among the nomads from Asia: rolled
and carried without difficulty, carpets are an
integral part of their life.
history of knotted carpets in Islamic Turkey dates
back to the conquest of the Seldjuks. Some samples
from the 12th Century put Konya
at the head of the Anatolian cities. They are
decorated with stars, lozenges, geometric ornaments,
birds, dragons. Islamic culture deeply influenced
the history of the carpets. The Ottomans strictly
conforming to Sunni
practices, they forbid the depiction of human
beings, even imaginary. Decoration is limited
to geometric figures, stylized flowers and trees,
the 16th Century on, the range of motives spreads
and now includes spirals, clouds, rosettes and
palmettes. At the time, Usak was the main
production center. Arabesques forming a succession
of lozenges, zigzags, interlaces are very characteristic
of these short-pile carpets.
centuries carpet weaving has been women’s
art.They start when they are very young, the skill
of their thin fingers allowing them to work fast.
This tradition is still beeing perpetuated in
many villages of Turkey.
particularity of the Turkish carpets lies
in the knot used: the Turkish knot
old Usak carpet
old Ladik prayer carpet
countrygirls weaving a carpet
Scene of a carpet bazaar by an Orientalist painter
Kariye Pasha Carpet shop near Chora Museum/Kariye/Istanbul
Scene of a carpet bazaar by an
Bergama carpets are
of a different style and can be divided in two
main groups: Kozak type with big geometrical designs,
and Turkish type which designs are very floral.
Their wool pile is thick and shiny with bright
are historically very reputed, above all prayer
rugs. Their colours are rather light with large
and simple decorations, and the mirhab (prayer
niche) has an unusual shape elongated terminating
in a lozenge.
Gördes carpets: the Turkish knot originates
from Gördes, a place located in the Aegean
region near Manisa.
Kula carpets resemble those of Gördes
and Usak. They have strong geometric designs which
can vary in patterns, and wide borders decorated
with little stars and flowers. Their colours are
rich but soft. They have a short and lusty pile
and are very elegant.
Ladik carpets: Ladik and Konya are the
oldest carpet making centers in Turkey because
Konya was the
capital of the Seljuk empire. Stylized floral
motives are used and colours are vivid and well
carpets are often in floral designs with colours
of white, cream, light and dark brown. They are
made of cotton and wool or of pure silk. Another
type is called Bunyan with many more colours used.
made in the vicinity of Kayseri are very popular.
A rich red with indigo coloroured blue is used.
The main ornemental motif of the field is the
hexagon which is similar to those of the Yörük
carpets, but they have a border with stylised
flowers of brillant shades of yellow and gold.
Hereke carpets are produced near Istanbul
and are woven in cotton, wool or silk with traditionnal
floral designs. In the 19th Century the workshops
worked for the sultans, and a great number of
carpets were sent as an imperial tribute to all
the crowned heads of Europe. The dominant colours
are dark blue, cream and cinnamon and occasionnally
yellow and green.
Yörük carpets are made by nomadic or semi-nomadic
tribes and are mostly produced in the mountainous
regions. They are finely shaded due to the vegetal
rich colours used. The predominant patterns are
geometric motives with stylised animals and flowers.
carpets are woven in the highland regions
in the Caucasian style, and are among the rarest
carpets. The wool pile is thick with cruciform
designs and stylised trees, and have navy blue,
red and cream colours.