What is miniature painting?

is a special kind of painting or drawing included in a book. Ottoman Miniature was an art form in the Ottoman Empire. It was a part of the Ottoman Arts together with illumination (tezhip), calligraphy (hat), marbling paper (ebru) and bookbinding (cilt). Ottoman miniature developed with the traditions of Persian and

Vocabulary of Miniature Painting

defined miniature painting as “tasvir” or nakish”. The person who makes tasvir or nakish was called Nakkash. The studios of Nakkashs was called Nakkashane.
 

Major Themes in the Ottoman miniature
              

accession to throne (cülus), religious festival gatherings (muayede), palace entertainments (meclis), ambassador receptions (sarayda kabul), rewarding of statesmen and ambassadors (hilat verilisi), council meetings (divan toplantisi), Topkapi Palace, military expeditions, circumcision rituals, trade groups' entertainments-, sports contests, funerals, portraits of Ottoman rulers, war and siege, hunting, city depictions

By Levni

Belgrad Campaign

The Philosophy of Ottoman Miniature Painting

“Each kind of art has its own mentality. “

“No Sign”
painting is different from an ordinary painting.  It has its own mentality and philosophy. Examples:  Generally, Ottoman miniatures were not signed.  Because, Ottoman miniature painting is the product of a world view that reject individualism.  Besides that, a miniature painting is a collective work of different people. The head painter designs the composition
 Miniature

“Sufism: Escaping from Worldly”
 The

world-view of the Ottoman miniature painting was different from European Renaissance Painting tradition.  The painters did not aim to depict the human beings and other living or nonliving beings realistically.  According to the world view of sufism, the worldly beings were not permanent and worth adoring.  The Ottoman artists wanted to reach an infinite and transcendent reality with their paintings so they stylized and

History of Ottoman Miniature Painting

the reign of Mehmed II, a painting academy called Nakkashane-i Rum was founded in Topkapı Palace. The task of the artists in this academy was to create illuminated picture manuscripts for the Sultan and the courtiers. Behzad was a famous miniature painter in Tebriz. When Yavuz Sultan Selim conquered Tabriz, Behzad and his pupils moved to

Famous Ottoman Nakkashs
 The

period of Suleiman the Magnificent was the golden age of Ottoman miniature.  Nakkash Osman was the most important miniature painter of this period.  Orhan Pamuk’s novel “My Name is Red" is a fictional account of Osman and his workshop.  Matrakci Nasuh was an another famous miniature painter during the reigns of Yavuz Sultan Selim and Suleiman the Magnificent.

16th Century

the end of 16th century and in the beginning of 17th century, especially in the reign of Ahmed I, album paintings became popular. The most popular version of these albums was Surname-i Hümayun. This was a special Ottoman tradition.

Surname-i Hümayun
 Important

events related to the palace were depicted by painters and explained in the form of poem in the special album called Surnama-i Hümayun.  Shortly, the Surname-i Hümayun was the Imperial Festival Book.  The Surname-i Hümayun included mainly imperial weddings and circumcision festivals.  These albums were commissioned by the Ottoman Imperial family, usually by the Sultan at the time.  The Surname depicts the festivities: when the events took place, which includes in

1582 Circumcision Festival
 In

1582, Murat III, wanted to show the power of the Ottoman empire to all people and decided to show it through a festival.  He ordered to prepare a circumcision festival for his prince, Mehmed  The preparation of the festival for Mehmed started one year before.  The famous Hippodrome in Istanbul was selected as the place for having festival.  All Istanbuls participated in the festival.  There were exhibited the goods or products.  Everyone ccontributed to the festival with showing their performances.  From time to time, musicians, dancers, sportmen and all kind of demonstrators also performed in



17th Century

17th century, miniature painting was also popular among the citizens of Istanbul. Artists under the name of "Bazaar Painters" who worked with other artisans in the bazaars of Istanbul (Carsi Ressamlari)

Life in a Caravansarai

Avrat Pazarı

The young lover with a lute serenadi ng his beloved, who is looking from the window

Tulip Era
 "Tulip

Period" occurred during the reign of Ahmed III.  Some art used the unique style called "Ottoman Baroque" in this period.  The characteristics of the period carried the influences of French baroque.  The most famous painter of this period was Levni.  He depicted the circumcision festival for the sons of Ahmed III.  His style of painting was influenced by Western painting and very different

1720: A Circumcision Festival
 Circumcision

festivity in 1720 lasted 15 days.  It took place in Okmeydanı.  This festival was for the 4 princes of Sultan III Ahmed, some sons of two high-ranking Ottoman officials and thousands of children of poor citizens of Istanbul.  All the organizations of the Empire participated in this huge event.  The preparations were initiated months before.  Artisans, theatre groups, clowns, musicians, and citizens joined in the festivities.  This festival was described in an album, called Surname-i Vehbi  The Miniatures of this album were depicted by Levni and poems were written by Vehbi.

Princes Mustafa and Mehmed, attended by a crowded procession, are driven in a carriage to the Topkapi Palace to be circumcised. Surname-i Vehbi, Topkapi Palace Museum Library in Istanbul, Collection Ahmed III, MS 3593.


Okme ydanı being made ready for the festivi ties


The arrival of the sultan at Okmey danı: Beginn ing of the proces sion

The first performances and the banquet for the Janissary corps



The banquet for highranking governmen t officials

Fireworks displays at Okmeydanı at the end of the first day

Performances by acrobats, singers, dancers

Concert, animal acts, and Egyptian performers

The banquet for the sheiks and seyyids

The parade of the guildsmen: Farmers, millers, and bread-makers

The parade of the guildsmen: Candlemakers and barbers

Evening entertainment on the Golden Horn

The circumcision parade: The military band

The End of Festival: The sultan strews gold coins

The End of Ottoman Miniature Painting

Levni, Westernization of Ottoman culture continued. With the introduction of printing press and photography, no more illuminated picture manuscripts were produced. From then on, wall paintings or oil paintings on toils were popular. So the miniature painting lost its function.

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