Ekrem Hakkı Ayverdi Koleksıyonunda Bulunan İlmiye İcâzetnâmesinin Müzehhibi Mimarzâde Mehmed AliZübeyde Cihan Özsayıner
Mühendis-Mimar, Restoratör ve Mimarlık Tarihçisi Ekrem Hakkı Ayverdi’nin İstanbul Fatih semtinde yer alan evindeki koleksıyonda bulunan ̇ Ilmı ̇ ye I ̇ câzetnâmesı ̇ nı ̇ n Barok ve Art Nouveau üslûbundaki tezhiplerinde kullanılan “Mehmed Ali” ̇ imzasının “Mimarzâde Mehmed Ali”ye ait olduğu, bilimsel olarak ilk defa bu makalede ortaya konulmaktadır. Mimarzâdenin yazdığı ve tezhibini yaptığı hat levhalarında ve çıkardığı Beyânü’l-Hak mecmuasının kapaklarında tasarladığı yazı ve süslemelerinde, Ilmı ̇ ye I ̇ câzetnâmesı ̇ ’ndeki ̇ Barok ve Art Nouveau üslûbundaki tezhip tasarımlarını severek kullandığı görülmektedir. Sultanahmet Camii’nde asılı olan yağlıboya tablosunda “1903” tarihi ve “Meşihatı ulyâ mektubi kalemi hulefâsından Mimarzâde Mehmed Ali” imzası; Fatih Camii’nde asılı olan yağlıboya tablosunda ise “1905” tarihi ve “Meşihatı ulyâ kalemi hulefâsından Mimarzâde Mehmed Ali” imzası okunmaktadır. Her iki tablo, Mekke, Medine şehirleri, Yıldız Sarayı ve Hicaz Demiryolu temalarını içermektedir. Tablolarından birinde celi kûfi hatta yer vermesi de dikkat çeken bir unsurdur. Mimarzâdenin Bolu’daki Büyük (Yıldırım Bâyezid) Camii’nin duvarlarına kalemişi olarak yazdığı bilinen, celi sülüs ve müsenna (aynalı) hatlar ile ayrıca yine aynı caminin kubbe pandantiflerine yazdığı, imzalı “Cihâryar-ı Güzin/Çâryar-ı Güzîn” hat levhalarından da bu makalede söz edilmiştir. Ayrıca bu çalışmada Hattat, Müzehhip, Ressam ve Mimar olan Mimarzâde Mehmed Ali’nin, Ilmı ̇ ye I ̇ câzetnâmesı ̇ isimli eseri bağlamında Rönesans sanatçılarını aratmayacak kadar çok ̇ yönlü bir Osmanlı sanatçısı olduğu anlatılmıştır.
A Calligrapher’s Diploma (İlmiye İcâzetnâmesi) By Mimârzâde Mehmet Ali From Ekrem Hakkı Ayverdi’s CollectionZübeyde Cihan Özsayıner
Ekrem Hakkı Ayverdi was an engineer, architect, architecture historian, restoration expert, and collector of Ottoman art. His former home in Fatih, Istanbul, still houses his collection, among which contains an ilmiye icazetnamesi (a calligrapher’s diploma) that bares the signature of a “Mehmed Ali” and is illuminated (tezhip) with Baroque and Art Nouveau motifs. This study proposes for the first time that the diploma’s creator is, in fact, Mimarzâde Mehmed Ali (i.e. Mehmed Ali the Architect). Mimarzâde Mehmed Ali -himself a calligrapher, painter, architect, and illustrator- made extensive use of baroque and art nouveau-inspired motifs in much of his artwork (whatever their form). Also the publisher of a periodical, Beyânü’l-hak, exploited the same motifs and calligraphic styles on its cover pages. Those motifs likewise appear on the aforementioned icazetnâme. Two of his oil paintings hang in two mosques in Istanbul-Fatih Mosque and the Blue Mosque. The former is dated 1903; as for the latter, 1905. Both also carry his signature, embedded in the same inscription “Meşihatıulyâ mektubi kalemi hulefâsından Mimarzâde Mehmed Ali...” Both paintings depict the cities of Mecca and Medina, Yıldız Palace, and (part of) the Hejaz Railway. The main and most striking difference between the two is that one of the paintings also contains a second inscription scrawled in the Celi Kufic style (of Arabic letters). He also is responsible for having adorned the Grand (Yıldırım Bayezid) Mosque in the Turkish province of Bolu -namely calligraphic murals (both Celi Sülüs and Müsenna (mirrored)) as well as all of the so-called inscribed Ciharyar-i Güzin panels that hang from the mosque’s dome. This study focuses on Mehmed Ali’s icazetnâme and suggests that he ought to down in the history books as a true Ottoman Renaissance man.
Ekrem Hakkı Ayverdi lived in Istanbul both when it was still under the Ottoman rule and when it became part of Modern Turkey. He was an engineer, architect, restoration expert, and architecture historian alongside an avid collector of not only 14th to 20th century Ottoman art but of also Seljuk tiles plus Persian and European works of ceramic and porcelain.
His former house in Istanbul’s Fatih district still bears his marvellous collection, among which contains several examples of Islamic calligraphy – most notably an İlmiye Icazetnâmesi (a calligrapher’s diploma – catalogue no: 231) by Aziz Efendi (1872-1934). A book, this particular piece was written in 1904, in Arabic, on special paper in the nesih and hürde tal’iq styles, using two colours of ink: one black (made from soot), and the other vermillion.
It is bound in a cover made of cardboard lined with green leather. It features twenty-one pages adorned with seven different kinds of Art Nouveau-esque tezhip, or illumination. Page 21 contains the signature of ‘Mehmed Ali’ scrawled in gold leaf-based ink. Until now, all studies published in this book mention that Mehmed Ali was whom the book was written for. This study, however, proposes that Mimarzâde Mehmed Ali – i.e. Mehmed Ali the Architect – was the mastermind behind it.
Housed at Turkey’s Directorate of National Palaces’ Calligraphy Collection is a 159 wide by 208 cm long plaque (inventory no: 11/1572) that Mimarzâde Mehmed Ali had hand-penned and illuminated in 1319 AH (1901/1902 CE). The plaque features images of the Yıldız Hamidiye Mosque, the cities of Mecca and Medina, various landscapes, a map, and Sultan Abdul Hamid II’s monogram, plus several passages from the Qur’an, hadiths, and poems. The plaque is illuminated in the same Baroque style also featured on the İlmiye İcâzetnâmesi (in Ekrem Hakkı Ayverdi’s collection). Along the bottom of the plaque, one finds Mimarzâde Mehmed Ali’s signature and the aforementioned, as both its calligrapher and illustrator.
In parallel, there is a private collection in Istanbul containing a hilya that was written by Mehmet Ali in 1906 in the Celi Sülüs, Rik’a, and Nesih styles, upon which Mimarzâde Mehmed Ali later illuminated (in 1909) with floral motifs done in the Art Nouveau style. One of the projects included the calligraphy work on the Grand Mosque in Bolu -namely Verse 29 of the forty-eighth chapter (Al-Fatih) of the Qur’an (terahüm rükke’ân sücce...) in the Kufic style alongside hand-painted adornment, just above triangular fronton of the mihrab. He is also responsible for two inscriptions, “mashallah” and “barekallah”, on either side of the mihrab, alongside eight pendant-shaped Ciharyar-i Güzin panels along with the main dome: Allah, Muhammed, Ebubekir, Ömer, Osman, Ali, Hasan, and Hüseyin. Mehmed Ali was equally wellknown for his paintings – most notably a series of oil paintings hung in two mosques in Istanbul: Fatih Mosque (in the mahfel, or gathering place), and Blue Mosque (on the wall left of the mihrab).
The painting at Blue Mosque depicts the city of Mecca, atop which are three inscriptions written in arsenic-based yellow ink on black backdrops. The middle inscription contains Verses 96 and 97 from the third chapter of the Qur’an (Al-i Imran). The inscriptions on the left and right contain Verses 37 and 38 from the same chapter. On the bottom left-hand corner of the painting, one finds the artist’s signature (in Turkish: “Meşihatı ulyâ mektubi kalemi hulefâsından Mimarzâde Mehmet Ali”) coupled with the painting’s date, 1903.
The painting at the Fatih Mosque is 174.2 cm long by 239.7 cm wide and depicts the cities of Mecca and Medina, Yıldız Palace, and the Hejaz Railway. Again, on the bottom left of the piece is the date the artist created the work, i.e. 1905, plus his signature (in Turkish: “Meşihatı ulyâ kalemi hulefâsından Mimarzade Mehmet Ali”). This particular painting also features a string of Kufic calligraphy on the top left. That same line and style are also found on the wall of the Bolu Yıldırım Bayezid Mosque.
In that periodical, he featured, in his own words “paintings and works of calligraphy with a modern spin.” Their covers, likewise, exhibited examples of “istifli” (literally: layered, or stacked) writing in sülüs and ta’liq styles, alongside illuminated frames inspired by Baroque and Art Nouveau movements. He published some 182 issues of the publication between 1908 and 1912. Between issues 26 through 34, he served as the journal’s managing director-albeit he was also one of its editors.
In sum, Mimarzâde Mehmed Ali Efendi was a true Renaissance man. He wore many hats: civil servant, illustrator, painter, calligrapher, and graphic artist. In his wake, he left behind a wealth of elaborately illuminated manuscripts, oil paintings, works of Islamic calligraphy, and journal/magazine covers. His particular use of Art Nouveau and Baroque motifs both in his calligraphic projects as well as in Beyânü’l-hak make him all the more special. Likewise, as a native of Bolu, his Kufic inscriptions and Celi Sülüs Ciharyar-i Güzin panels that adorn the Bolu Grand Mosque (a.k.a. Bolu Yıldırım Beyazıt Mosque) serve as his debt of gratitude to his place of birth.