Picturing Byzantine Istanbul: 1930-1947
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
The majority of Artamonoff’s 1033 photographs are preserved in the Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives of the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in Washington, D.C., and in the Myron Bement Smith Collection in The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Archives of the Smithsonian Institution.This summer Istanbul witnesses an exhibition, which focuses on the Byzantine heritage in the city. “Artamonoff: Picturing Byzantine Istanbul, 1930-1947” exhibition presents the Byzantine heritage of Istanbul from the perspective of Nicholas V. Artamonoff, who had a deep interest in the history of the city. The exhibition will be open to the public in Koç University’s Research Center of Anatolian Civilizations (RCAC) Gallery in Istanbul between until October 6.
“Artamonoff: Picturing Byzantine Istanbul, 1930-1947” features the photographs taken by Nicholas V. Artamonoff, an amateur photographer of Russian origin, during the time he lived in Istanbul between 1922-1947. The exhibition opens within the scope of the Third International Sevgi Gönül Byzantine Studies Symposium, entitled “Trade in Byzantium” and organized by Koç University’s RCAC. The exhibition can be visited at the RCAC Gallery in Beyoğlu, Istanbul between June 26 and October 6, 2013.
The exhibition consists of Nicholas V. Artamonoff’s photographs of Byzantine architectural heritage and human landscapes taken between 1930-1947 and constitutes a unique record of the city, which since then has gone through a radical transformation. The life and career of Artamonoff, who developed an interest in photography and Istanbul’s cultural heritage during the years he studied and worked at Robert College, were reconstructed through extensive research.
Some of the monuments depicted in Artamonoff’s photographs have been damaged, at times destroyed, badly restored, or hidden from uninterrupted view by the urban and demographic sprawl of the huge metropolis of Istanbul. They display Byzantine remains not only as architectural landmarks of residential and commercial neighborhoods, but also as integral elements in the daily life of the city’s residents. He captured through his lens snapshots of monuments, archaeological sites, and cityscapes, as much as of tourists, scholars, and ordinary people in a period of fast transition in all walks of life. Thus, the use and reuse of historic buildings and remains, the transformation of buildings and the urban fabric all appear as recurrent themes in his photography.
Archive of Artmanoff
The majority of Artamonoff’s 1033 photographs are preserved in the Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives of the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in Washington, D.C., and in the Myron Bement Smith Collection in The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler (Freer|Sackler) Archives of the Smithsonian Institution. The exhibition presents a selection of these photographs and Artamonoff’s personal documents from the archive of Robert College in Istanbul.
According to a written statement sent by the RCAC, “The ’Artamonoff: Picturing Byzantine Istanbul,1930-1947’ exhibition and catalog are prepared within the scope of the Third International Sevgi Gönül Byzantine Studies Symposium, to be held between June 24-27, 2013. This work is the product of a collaboration among Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (RCAC), Dumbarton Oaks, Freer|Sackler, and Robert College.”