Journal Article

Perspective and Istanbul, the Capital of the Ottoman Empire

Emel Ardaman

in Journal of Design History

Published on behalf of Design History Society

Volume 20, issue 2, pages 109-130
Published in print January 2007 | ISSN: 0952-4649
Published online July 2007 | e-ISSN: 1741-7279 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jdh/epm008
Perspective and Istanbul, the Capital of the Ottoman Empire

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The ideal town plans of the Renaissance had a radial scheme with a centre like the single viewpoint of the perspective, the ‘owner-controller-ruler’s’ place.2 Until the eighteenth century, however, this scheme was seldom applied. Its popularity reached a climax in the second half of the nineteenth century in Haussmann's reorganization of Paris, which became a model of urban modernization for other countries. In nineteenth-century Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, a radial scheme was first applied in Pera where large number of Europeans lived and later within the city walls of the ancient peninsula, the traditional centre of Istanbul. In neither part of the city did it function as in Paris. The aim of this article is to discuss why the radial plan scheme did not become a more important element in the modernization process of Istanbul, and to discuss whether it worked there as it did in Paris. This discussion will involve comparing the Ottoman and Western European understandings of the world as given visual expression in painting and reflected in the design of cities.

Keywords: modernization; nineteenth century; panopticon; Paris; radial plan; urban design

Journal Article.  12372 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Art ; Art Forms ; Industrial and Commercial Art ; Art Styles

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