Osman Hamdi Bey’s ‘Koranic Instruction’ sold for $6 mln

Osman Hamdi Bey’s ‘Koranic Instruction’ sold for $6 mln

Osman Hamdi Bey’s ‘Koranic Instruction’ sold for $6 mln

A painting by 19th century Ottoman painter Osman Hamdi Bey has been sold in a London auction for almost $6 million.

The 1890 painting, “Koranic Instruction,” was sold by London-based auctioneers the Sotheby’s to an unnamed bidder for 4,64 million British pounds ($5,92 million). The art piece was valued between 3-5 million British pounds before the auction.

The painting was a piece of the Important Works from the Najd Collection.

“While at first glance ‘Koranic Instruction’ bears many of the hallmarks of a French academic painting, it was a radical work for its time that challenged artistic and social norms. For a start, figurative painting was virtually unpracticed by Muslim artists at the time,” reads the catalogue note about the painting.

“The opulent tiled setting of the present work is a secluded corner of the Yeşil Cami, or Green Mosque, in Bursa in western Anatolia. Framed by a Mamluk lantern and monumental candlestick, two men face one another, the seated man receiving Koranic instruction from the standing hoja or teacher. The closely cropped composition suggests that Hamdy Bey may have had recourse to photographs, a practice favored by French academic painters such as Jean-Leon Gerome.”

Osman Hamdi Bey’s “Girl Reciting Quran” was sold to Malaysian Islamic Arts Museum last month in London for 6.3 million British pounds.

Osman Hamdi Bey was a pioneering Turkish painter who lived between 1842 and 1910.