Ottoman costume albums and their European readers

11 juin 2013
Galerie Colbert
Salle Giorgio Vasari
2, rue Vivienne
75002 Paris

Accès : 6 rue des Petits-Champs
entrée libre

A l'occasion de son invitation à titre de professeur invité en juin 2013 sur la chaire de l'IISMM (Institut d'études de l'Islam et des sociétés du monde musulman), EHESS,
le professeur Nebahat Avcioglu interviendra aux Rencontres de l'INHA sur le thème :
Ottoman costume albums and their European readers

Abstract : This talk is about the anonymous costume album, which is a collection of small paintings bound together and held in the Département des Estampes et de la photographie of the BnF in Paris. The current catalogue entry indicates that it was made in Constantinople by a Turkish artist, and that it was a royal gift sent to France in 1721. It also indicates that the library bought the copy from M. le duc de la Vallière, and gives the publication date as 1720. The entry thus put, detailing the album's physical characteristics, date of publication and place of production as well as the means of its trajectory from Istanbul to Paris, naturally acts upon our consciousness and with almost irreversible consequences on our scholarship. Yet one only has to scratch the surface of such a claim to find out that none of this information is accurate. This paper will try to reason with the ‘misleading' archival information and suggest a different idea of where and when the album was produced, and for what purpose.

Nebahat Avcioglu is Associate Professor of Art History at Hunter College, City University of New York. She received her BA in Architecture from Istanbul Technical University, and her PhD from the University of Cambridge, Department of History of Art. She specializes in Islamic art and architecture with a particular emphasis on Ottoman/European cultural encounters. Her publication include Turquerie and the Politics of Representation, 1737-1876 (2011), Globalising Cultures : Art and Mobility in the Eighteenth Century, (ed. with Finbarr Barry Flood), Ars Orientalis vol. 39 (2011), and Architecture, Art and Identity in Venice and Its Territories 1450-1750, (ed. with Emma Jones), (2013). She is also the author of ‘Istanbul : The palimpsest city in search of its architext', RES, 53/54 (2008) and ‘Form-as-Identity : The Mosque in the West', Cultural Analysis, vol. 6 (2008), as well as of other articles that appeared in Art Bulletin and Muqarnas.