Tuesday, May 11, 2010

UNESCO honors Ottoman intellectual Osman Hamdi Bey

Osman Hamdi Bey, an Ottoman intellectual, art expert and founder of the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, was honored Monday during a panel discussion held by UNESCO on the 100th anniversary of his death. Participants made presentations about the intellectual, who was a pioneer in archaeology and art not just in Turkey, but throughout the entire world
Osman Hamdi Bey

Osman Hamdi Bey

In recognition of his immense contribution to both Turkey and the world, Ottoman intellectual and art expert Osman Hamdi Bey was commemorated with a UNESCO panel discussion Monday on the 100th anniversary of his death.
Following a request from the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry, UNESCO participated in the commemoration events on the death anniversary of the founder of the Istanbul Archeology Museum, Osman Hamdi Bey.
With the initiatives of the Turkish permanent representative to UNESCO, Gürcan Türkoğlu, UNESCO held a panel discussion Monday titled “A Pioneer in the Protection of Cultural Heritage: Osman Hamdi Bey, Artist, Archeologist and Museologist.”
Turkish and foreign academics released statements about the life and works of Osman Hamdi Bey during the panel discussion, which was inaugurated by UNESCO's World Heritage Center director, Francesco Bandarin. “Osman Hamdi Bey is the leader of archaeology not only in Turkey, but throughout the world,” Bandarin said.
While Professor Edhem Eldem made a presentation about the multi-sided personality and works of Osman Hamdi Bey, architect Cengiz Kabaoğlu provided information about the project, which was initiated for the protection and development of the Istanbul Archaeology Museum 100 years after its establishment.
UNESCO Turkey National Commission Executive Board member Professor Gül İrepoğlu highlighted the leading role Osman Hamdi Bey played in art education as well as his status as a painter. Furthermore, two new books on Osman Hamdi Bey were launched on the occasion of the panel discussion.
One of the books, “Un Ottoman En Orient” (An Ottoman in the East), prepared by Eldem and published by one of the leading publishing houses in France, Actes Sud, includes letters written by Osman Hamdi Bey and other texts and was introduced by Professor Faruk Bilici from the French Eastern Languages and Cultures Institute.
The other book, “Le voyage à Nemrud Dağı d'Osman Hamdi Bey et Osgan Efendi (1883): Récit de voyage et photographies publiés et annotés par Edhem Eldem” (The Travel of Osman Hamdi Bey and Osgan Efendi to Mount Nemrut [1883]: The travel book and photographs released and annotated by Edhem Eldem), which was edited by archeologist Aksel Tibet and published by the French Institute for Anatolian Studies, or IFEA, was introduced by former IFEA Director Professor Pierre Chuvin.
In the last session of the panel discussion, Hittitologist Hatice Gonnet Bağana was presented a plaque of gratitude by the Turkey Permanent Representative Office of UNESCO due to her contributions to the determination and promotion of Turkey’s historical richness, her efforts for the inclusion of the capital of the Hittites, Hattuşa, on the UNESCO World Heritage List and a donation to the Çorum Museum from her personal library and archives.
Osman Hamdi Bey
Osman Hamdi Bey (1842–1910) was an Ottoman statesman, intellectual, art expert and prominent Turkish painter. His painting “The Turtle Trainer” is regarded as the “Turkish Mona Lisa” by art circles. He was also an accomplished archaeologist and is considered the pioneer of the profession of museum curation in Turkey. He was the founder of the Istanbul Archaeology Museum and of Istanbul Academy of Fine Arts (Sanayi-i Nefise Mektebi), known today as the Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts. His 1906 painting, “The Turtle Trainer,” broke a record in Turkey in being sold for $3.5 million dollars in December 2004. The painting expresses a sarcastic innuendo on Osman Hamdi Bey’s own view of his style of work compared to those of his collaborators and apprentices. It references the historical fact that tortoises were employed for illuminative and decorative purposes by placing candles on their shells for evening outings during the Tulip Era of the early 18th century. The painting was acquired by the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation and is currently on display at the Pera Museum in Istanbul.

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