Experts restore Ottoman paintings in Istanbul
Istanbul’s Dolmabahce Palace opens cutting-edge art restoration studio to AA.

Istanbul’s Dolmabahce Palace – the home of the Ottoman Empire’s last six sultans, where Turkey’s founding leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk spent his last days – has opened its painting restoration studio to The Anadolu Agency.

Located just at the shore of breathtaking Bosphorus strait, Dolmabahce Palace Museum is home to the National Palaces Painting Restoration Studio – one of Turkey’s most comprehensive art restoration workshops – which was founded in 1996.

Speaking to The Anadolu Agency, studio representative Hatice Biga said that the four-member outfit was restoring of 37 paintings which were brought to the studio as part of deal between Dolmabahce and Istanbul’s famous Topkapi Palace.

Biga said four items were under restoration at the moment; portraits depicting Ottoman dynasty members.

"One of them is a portrait of prince Burhanettin (the Son of Sultan Abdulhamid II) by Italian artist Salvatore Valery who was also a painting teacher for the Sultan’s sons.

"The other one is again by Valery and is a painting of Nemika Sultan (Granddaughter of Abdulhamid II).

"A portrait of Turkey’s last caliph Abdulmecid Efendi by Turkish artist Namik Ismail (1890-1935) and another portrait of Yusuf Izzettin Efendi (1857-1919) – Sultan Abdulaziz’s son – is by Polish artist Stanislav Chelebovski,” Biga says.

Although each artwork needs special treatment and the restoration time depends on the condition of the paintings, around 300 items have been were restored at the studio since it was founded, according to Biga.

"You may need to work for months if there has been a major wear on a small-size painting,” Biga says.

On the other hand, only small interventions may be enough for a large painting, she added.

Another restorer Hilal Kaplan believes "restorers are dangerous for artworks.”

"Any guesswork by restorer would result in damaging the artwork,” Kaplan says, adding: "Our main aim is to preserve the artworks as they are.”

She also mentions modern restoration technology, which allows restorers to apply better preserving methods than in the past.

Noting any application to the artwork should be minimum, Biga says: "To allow the artwork any future … any implication should be kept to a minimum.”

Turkey, a country where European-style fine arts remained uncommon until the 19th century, is mainly well-known for its natural beauty and archeological heritage.

This is changing with the help of a new generation restorers especially after Turkey’s presidency started a two-year project in 2012 to restore its fine art heritage by gathering a group of restorers from the Netherlands, England, Germany and France.

The group restored 43 major artworks belong to the republic’s presidency.

Turkey’s historic Istanbul-based Mimar Sinan University also began a restoration program in 2011.

Last Modified: 2015-04-13 11:11:43
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