A Different Way Of Seeing: Topographic Paintings By Matrakçı Nasuh

Date and Time: Thu, 24 October 2019 / 19:00 – 20:30 BST

Location: Leighton House Museum

City views and topographic paintings had been one of the most distinctive features of 16th century Ottoman manuscript illustration. They were used to document the expanding frontiers of the Ottoman Empire which are now among the most alluring cartographic objects of that period. Furthermore, these paintings are also a part of the tradition of Ottoman manuscript illustration; yet as a genre they are unique in the history of Islamic art.

As cartographic representations of real places, such paintings indicated an emerging taste for historical realism in painting. However, city views were more than just peculiar paintings intended to add visual realism to histories narrating the sultan’s conquests and the Ottoman Empire’s territorial expansion. They also had tremendous influence for the uniqueness of the tradition of Ottoman manuscript illustration as they created a different way of seeing which was engaged with multifocal and multiperspectival representations of the urban body.

This talk examines the illustrations of a specific manuscript, Mecmü-i Menâzil, composed in the third decade of the 16th century by Matrakçı Nasuh, the famous Ottoman polymath who excelled in martial arts, mathematics, painting and literature.

Speaker: Dr. Filiz Adıgüzel Toprak

Dr Adıgüzel Toprak received her BA from the Department of Traditional Turkish Arts, Major of Manuscript Illumination, Faculty of Fine Arts of Dokuz Eylül University in 1997 and her MA degree with honors from the same faculty by conducting a research on illuminated Islamic manuscripts held by the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2000. In 2004, she obtain a Diploma in Asian Arts from the Asia Department at the British Museum in affiliation with Royal Holloway College. In 2007, she received her PhD entitled “Signs of Sultanate in the Miniature Paintings of Arifi’s Suleymanname” (TSM H.1517) from the Institute of Fine Arts. She participated at the “Persian and Indian Miniature Painting Workshop” at The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts held in February 2010 and has presented numerous academic papers on Ottoman Miniature Paintings in and outside Turkey as well as opened a number of solo miniature painting exhibitions. Currently, she is working on the application techniques of architectural elements in Ottoman miniatures of the 16th century period by aiming of producing unique miniature paintings of cities, in and outside Turkey. Dr Adıgüzel Toprak is Associate Professor at Dokuz Eylül University, Fine Arts Faculty, Department of Traditional Arts in Izmir, Turkey, and she is the Head of the Art of Illumination and Miniature Painting Branch at the same department.