Artamonoff: Picturing Byzantine Istanbul, 1930-1947

26 June - 6 October 2013

Koç University Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations

Curated by Günder Varinlioğlu

The exhibition “Artamonoff: Picturing Byzantine Istanbul, 1930–1947” is realized through a collaboration between Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (RCAC), Dumbarton Oaks, the Freer|Sackler, and Robert College (RC). The exhibition focuses on the Byzantine architectural heritage of Istanbul in 1935-1945 through the lens of Nicholas V. Artamonoff, an amateur photographer of Russian origin, who lived in Istanbul between 1922-1947. A small selection of his photographs of human and urban landscapes, contextualize the Byzantine architectural remains in the modern living city of Istanbul.

Artamonoff’s photographs display Byzantine remains not only as architectural landmarks of residential and commercial neighborhoods, but also as integral elements in the daily life of the city’s residents. Thus, the use and reuse of historic buildings and remains and the transformation of the urban fabric appear as recurrent themes in his photography. This exhibition highlights the reception of the Byzantine heritage of Istanbul from the perspective of this learned man who had a deep interest in the history of the city.

Aqueduct of Valens (Bozdoğan Kemeri) with Fatih Camii rising at the vanishing point of the aqueduct line, March 1936.
Nicholas V. Artamonoff, Courtesy of Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection

Church of St. John Studios, marble pavement, April 1935.
Nicholas V. Artamonoff, Courtesy of Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection