The art of Sultan Abdülaziz

Well-known for his love and patronage of the arts, particularly music, calligraphy and poetry, Sultan Abdülaziz (1830-1876) was less known for his own drawings and paintings.

This London exhibition is a rare opportunity to see the Sultan’s artistry, from sketches through to paintings. While the subjects he depicts reflect the world around him, they also show the Ottoman leader’s flair for and fascination with Western art forms and techniques.

Sultan Abdülaziz would regularly invite Europe’s leading painters to visit his palace, among them Pierre-Désiré Guillemet and Stanisław Chlebowski, drawing inspiration and taking lessons from these master artists.

Palace visitors and the wider public were unaware that many of Sultan Abdülaziz’s unsigned paintings came to adorn the walls of the royal Ottoman palace. He also gifted a book of his original drawings to Polish artist Chlebowski, who became famed for his Oriental-themed paintings. The Sultan’s sketch book is now held by the Krakov National Museum.

A selection of these works can be seen at the Yunus Emre Institute in London. Opened by Turkish ambassador Abdurrahman Bilgiç on 18 May, the exhibition runs until the end of May. Entrance is free.

Exhibition details

Exhibition: From Sketches to Paintings: Sultan Abdülaziz

Ends: Tuesday 31st May 2016

Opening times: Monday – Friday: 10:30– 20:00, Saturday: 10:30– 18:00, closed Sunday.

Venue address:  Yunus Emre Institute – London, 10 Maple Street, London W1T 5HA

Tickets: Free