HISTOIRE DE L'ART / ART HISTORY
Organisation du 10e CONGRES INTERNATIONAL D'ART TURC
The impacts of a multi-dimensional European approach - Orientalism - were felt in the Ottoman capital too, from the mid 19th century onwards. A rich world of borrowed forms from various non-Ottoman Islamic artistic traditions is observed in about 30 designs in Istanbul: a complex instance in the history of architecture which can be defined as an "Orientalism in the Orient". The contrast caused by Indian, Persian and Moorish architectural motives was not as strong as it occurred in the western architecture where they were perceived as totally new and "exotic". Although there are also Ottoman examples, closer to the western perception, the general familiarity of some decorative and structural patterns led to the evaluation of the Ottoman forms in a revivalist manner. In other words, Ottoman Orientalism of the 19th century functioned as a catalyst in the transformation process of the architecture from a totally western look to an Ottoman revivalist content.
In most of the Ottoman-orientalist examples, the chosen architectural elements and decorative patterns were applied to frequently repeated building types, façades and interiors of the era. However, one particular design among them, that of the twin pavilions at the entrance of the former Ministry of Defense in Istanbul, attracts one's attention also because of its architectural mass and the revivalist elements re-designed to a new perspective. A closer examination of their architecture shows that they were inspired by a 15th century edifice, Çinili Kösk, a very early part of the Topkapi Palace complex. By being 19th century replicas of one of the earliest Ottoman buildings in the city on one hand, and by reflecting the orientalist taste with a Moorish touch on the other, they mark an important stage during the course of the revivalist searches for a national identity in late Ottoman architecture.