Osman Hamdi Bey Beyond Vision

Sakıp Sabancı Museum, Osman Hamdi Bey Beyond Vision Exhibition presents the results of a profound analysis giving information about the period of the restoration of 6 Osman Hamdi Bey’s work in the collection of SSM with 2 years of scientific analysis and conservation work.

The first work that meets us in the exhibition area is Osman Hamdi Bey’s second wife, “Naile Hanim’s Portrait”. Marie Palyart, who was originally from a French mother, married Osman Hamdi Bey and then took the name Naile. She has 3 children from Osman Hamdi Bey who named Leyla, Edhem and Nazlı. With a black background in the foreground and a cover in her hair, Naile has a clear contrast to the background. There are many works by Osman Hamdi Bey, the artist who used for the first time in the Turkish canvas picture, the female figurine in the Turkish painting art, at different periods. If this picture is different from the others, it has been the use of the golden gilded color which is used to depict the sacred figures especially in the Byzantine icons since the old times used in the background of the figurine. Other colors used in the portrait are; chrome yellow, zinc fir, krabon black and Prussian blue used as primer in all the studied works. It was also determined that the work had undergone restoration in the examination made with X-rays.


Osman Hamdi Bey made orientalist paintings as well as portraits depicting people from close circles and family members. The tomb of Osman Hamdi Bey, who is known to frequently visit the house in Eskihisar, was also found in the garden of this converted house. The next piece is Osman Hamdi Bey’s assistant at the home of Eskihisar (a town of Gebze), another woman portrait of Despina Hanım named “Kokona Despina”. At that time, cocaine was a name Muslims used for Christian women. Osman Hamdi Bey also benefited from the photographs during the creation process of his works. It is known that there are also photographs taken by his wife Naile Hanim for use in portraits. In addition to the simplicity of the whole picture, it is mentioned that the artist can benefit from the photograph in the process of construction in detail. It was estimated that no restoration was observed in Resmin X-ray analysis, and that the work had not been studied over and over again. The colors used in this table are; ointment, zinc and earth pigments.

Osman Hamdi Bey depicted a religious place (depicted inside the Bursa Green Mosque) in this work as well as many recent works. Here, it is determined that some parts of the picture are not completed, and some of the marks of the places have been painted with a pencil before painting and then painted. Here, the hodja who reads the Qur’an is depicted on the carpet that Osman Hamdi Bey frequently used in his works. One of the hanging hunts in the tent is made of rice and the other two are made of glass. One of the plates written on the wall in the style of thuluth and küfi was found in the Sakıp Sabancı Museum Collection. “He is merciful and forgiving” with the black ink on the yellow black plate, and “I take refuge with God’s forgiveness” with the golden yellow. In the X-ray analysis of the work, it was understood that the paint was spilled at the intersection of the horn with the yellow intrasine. Unlike sharp and stiff brush bumps at the bottom of the resume, the soft brush at the top is a proof that the bump shows a restoration of the image.

In the work named Arzuhalci, two fancy women are depicted in front of an Ottoman building with an old tiled roof, which prints letters of warriors under the shade. It is mentioned that one of the women ‘s feraces is the kind that shows the colorful, European fashionable body lines that wealthy ladies wear at the time. Osman Hamdi Bey ‘s use of china, which is frequently used in works he has made especially in his recent paintings, can also help to estimate the period in which this unpretentious work is performed. As depicted in the picture, Osman Osman is sitting on an Iranian carpet looking at the paper on his hand, as he used in many works of Hamdi Bey. The foot part and the incomplete uncompleted archetype are works that have unfinished parts like the work of Hodja who reads the Quran in this direction. Apart from Osman Hamdi Bey ‘s works, it is seen that the street dogs which are frequently seen in the streets of Istanbul at that time, we have not seen much in this work, added to the story. In the X-ray analysis of the work, the artist gives information about the artist’s technique of applying sharp and free brush strokes, which is used to form the basis for the picture. In the color analysis, it was determined that 5 different paint layers were passed in the paint samples taken from an area at the lower part of the picture, from which the artist reached the result of using another paint before the paint was dried.


Osman Hamdi Bey was appointed to the position of Director of Foreign Affairs for 2 years after his return to Paris in 1868 and served in Baghdad. During his time in Baghdad, the artist painted many landscapes depicting the various neighborhoods of Baghdad. It is estimated that the mosque named work is made from works made during this period. In the X ray analysis of the work, the paint on the bottom of the table was severely damaged; this damage is not a fire or insect attack; it has been understood that the work has not completely destroyed that area, but only because of the damage to the paint layers, such as flooding. In addition, the blue paint around the minaret with a curved brush crushed paint, the background of the work is painted after drawing the minaret shows. In many works the artist first paints the floor, and in this painting named Mosque, first draws the pattern and paints the fonu afterwards. The pattern on the sides of the table still shows that the original is bigger and later it is smaller.

The last painting on the stage is a painting of Vase of Flowers, which is a single still life work of Osman Hamdi Bey, in which dry spike branches are depicted on a black background. In this work, the artist, who draws our attention, has also used the carpet object he often used in his other works. In the 14th century the use of carpets in paintings was a popular one. The use of the table in the tables is associated with wealth, power and sanctity, while at the same time providing a detailed account of the social and economic status of the person pictured. Furthermore, the names of European painters such as Lotto, Holbein, Ghirlandaio and Crivelli, who frequently use the carpet object in their paintings during this period, have been used to describe the people today. It has been determined that there is no serious damage to the X ray film of the work and that it is not restored. In the analysis of the color in the bulb, unlike the other works of the artist, it is determined that this work uses natural maritime rather than synthetic blue. This color was used in the orders that were obtained by milling lapis lazuli, which is as precious as gold in Medieval Europe from Afghanistan, and which only wealthy people gave or the Virgin Mary’s painting was painted. Colors used in the work; cabochon, zinnia, Napoli sarcophagus and opaque red.

The exhibition can be seen at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum until 31 December.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *