Istanbul Baroque (HS23): Ottoman Architecture of the 18th Century and its Afterlife

Seminar Week (-)
Organizer: Chair Delbeke
Time: 21st-28th October 2023
Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Image: The courtyard portal of the Nuruosmaniye Mosque, 2023. Photograph by Damla Göre.

Seminar Week HS23

October 21st-28th 2023
Cost Frame C including flights, accommodation, breakfast, museum admissions, and tour guides

What does the "baroque", a nominally Western aesthetic idiom, have to do with Istanbul? How do we make sense of the baroque motifs in Ottoman architecture, given that the style typically implicated ties to the Catholic church and its colonial endeavors? Going beyond the typical, this seminar week will examine another facet of the baroque that emerged in the 18th-century Istanbul landscape: one that dressed up sites ranging from imperial mosques to haram quarters and from water fountains to merchant houses. These monuments, distinct from their forerunners in the city and in other European capitals, marked a political and artistic turning point in the Ottomans' positioning on the global stage, which was debatably viewed either as the opening of the empire to the West or as a sign of decline and decadence.

We will delve into this field of tension, question how the style was implemented in different societal conditions, and explore the role of various actors and mediums in the dissemination of architectural knowledge by exploring the city's allegedly baroque phase together with its precedents and successions. The trip will start on the historical peninsula with Byzantine churches, classical-era Ottoman mosques, and sumptuous 18th-century monuments; extend to extra-mural sites like Phanar, Eyup and Galata on the European and Uskudar on the Asian side; and end with a tour along the Bosphorus.