Paintings by Prince Abdülmecid Efendi

Extended until August 28, “The Prince’s Extraordinary World: Abdülmecid Efendi” exhibition focuses on the works of the Prince and the archival documents of his family, allowing us to gain insight into the modernization process of the Ottoman Empire.

“Self-portrait”, Abdülmecid Efendi

I think, one of the most beautiful views of the Bosphorus is the capacious room on the top floor of the Aşiyan Museum, which Tevfik Fikret once used as his bedroom. It was in this house that Tevfik Fikret wrote his famous poem “Sis” (The Mist), overloading the blue and vast view of the Bosphorus from the Bebek ridges. In this poem, Fikret depicts a dark Istanbul shrouded in fog. The poem was written in the early 1900s, when the Ottoman Empire was on its last legs and the oppression of Abdülhamid II’s tyranny had taken hold of society. Otherwise, it would have been impossible to look at the Bosphorus from the ridges of Aşiyan and see such a foggy Istanbul. Fikret describes Istanbul in his poem as follows: “Oh! Living mass that sleeps in the blue embrace of Marmara / as if it were dead”. Tevfik Fikret was not the only person who saw Istanbul in this way at the time; influenced by the poem, Prince Abdülmecid Efendi drew the painting “Fog in Istanbul”. The lower left corner of the painting is signed “To Mr. Tevfik Fikret, my Muhibbi Muazzezim (Honorable Friend)”. The painting, which is on display at the Aşiyan Museum, is a part of “The Prince’s Extraordinary World: Abdülmecid Efendi” exhibition at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum since December 21. The exhibition brings together the paintings of Abdülmecid Efendi, who left a deep mark on Ottoman art life, and archival documents shedding light on the period.

“The Mist”, Abdülmecid Efendi

Abdülmecid Efendi, who created many paintings such as “The Mist in Istanbul”, witnessed the tragic death of his father at a very young age and reflected this sadness in his artworks for many years, according to Dr. Nazan Ölçer, Director of Sakıp Sabancı Museum. The “The Prince’s Extraordinary World: Abdülmecid Efendi” focuses on the multifaceted artistic identity of Abdülmecid Efendi, whose life was characterized by throne disputes, political events and world wars. The exhibition includes works from the collections of 14 official institutions, 17 family collections, private museums and galleries, as well as works from France, where Abdülmecid Efendi spent the last 20 years of his life.

“… the beautiful Sarayburnu, the view that I have watched with sadness and sorrow for thirty-three years. This Istanbul, which I can never reach, always presents itself beyond my window. This window which, on a day long ago, long since erased from my memory, was the entry point for the assassins of my beloved father, Sultan Abdülaziz. My father died very close to this window.”

Three “Mist” paintings by Abdülmecid Efendi, inspired by Tevfik Fikret’s poem “The Mist”, come together for the first time in this exhibition. Landscape paintings he gave as a gift to his close friend Pierre Loti, letters, family photographs, some of which are unknown, and more than 300 documents including invitation menus, including the invitation given by his close friend Abdülhak Hamit for the premiere of the play “Finten” are also on display.

One of the sections of the exhibition is “Abdülmecid Efendi Beyond the Visible”. This section focuses on six paintings by Abdülmecid Efendi in the Sakıp Sabancı Museum, in order to explore the production processes and details beyond the visible. Four of the works are oil on canvas and two are pastels on paper.

With this comprehensive exhibition, it is possible to see the artistic identity of Abdülmecid Efendi, as well as the literary society of his close friends and the modernization process of Ottoman society.

“Portrait of Abdülhak Hâmid”, Abdülmecid Efendi

“The Prince’s Extraordinary World: Abdülmecid Efendi”exhibition at Sakıp Sabancı Museum until August 28.

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