Sanayi-i Nefise Mektebi (1882-1928)
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The subject matter of this study is the activities of The Imperial School of Fine Arts (Sanayi-i Nefise Mektebi) starting with its establishment in 1882 and lasting at the year 1928 when it took the name the Academy of Fine Arts, and the network of relations set by it as the only fine arts’ school for the period extending from Ottoman Empire to Republic of Turkey. The Imperial School of Fine Arts, which was established in 19th century, during a period in which the Empire experienced political instabilities, loss of power and territory, and made reforms in many areas with the aim of compensating for all these things, was the one and only fine arts’ school of the Ottoman Empire. Within the framework of this study, primarily, the elements that stimulated the process of establishment of a school of fine arts in the Empire were addressed by analysing the development of the Istanbul-centred local art scene and the dialogues formed during the international exhibitions. With the establishment of The Imperial School of Fine Arts, a systematic fine arts’ education which would be provided in the style of European Academies was included in the organization of the Empire for the first time. This situation brought along various questions and problematics such as the administrative structure and place, teaching staff, choices for the program of the School; and the “national art” that was targeted to be produced, and the relationships of Ottoman society with the students and graduates of the School. The initiatives brought by the Second Constitutional Era and the effects of World War I had also an influence on the relationships formed and the approaches adopted by the School of Fine Arts. Especially the generation that raised in The Imperial School of Fine Arts, continued their education in Paris, and returned to İstanbul in 1914 became the actors of the transformation of the school and the art scene. Along with the names like İbrahim Çallı and Hikmet Onat who assumed their duties in The Imperial School of Fine Arts following their return, the artistic preferences adopted by the education given in The Imperial School of Fine Arts also changed. The proclamation of the Republic of Turkey, on the other side, was the initiation of a new period. In this period, The Imperial School of Fine Arts was updated in many fields from its building to its curriculum, and made compliant to the cultural policies of the Republic. In this study, it is aimed to analyse the transformation of The Imperial School of Fine Arts during the period that was extending from Ottoman Empire to Republic of Turkey, and its impacts on the art scene by considering different aspects of this transformation.