Gravures and maps from the Daily Ottoman life in Istanbul in XVI-XIX Centuries

November 13, 2018 | News

President of FICAC, Hon. Aykut Eken exposed some gravures from family collection at the art gallery of the Lycee St. Benoit in Istanbul. The theme was “Gravures and maps from the Daily Ottoman life in Istanbul in XVI-XIX Centuries”. This exposition was in collaboration with FICAC and Lycee de St. Benoit. After the speech of the director of the Lycee Mr. Pierre Gentric, Hon. Eken gave some information to the guests about FICAC.


Mr. Consul General of France, M. Bertrand Buchwalter

Dear Mr. Aykut Eken, President of World Federation of Consuls

Dear Consuls General, Dear Vice-Consuls,

Dear Honorary Consuls,

Dear Mr. Erol Makzume, Consul General of Guyana

Dear Directors, Dear M. Claude Lauer, Dear M. François Savage

Dear parents, Dear Professors, Dear Friends of “Lycée Saint Benoît”,


The Lycée Saint Benoît Gallery is pleased to welcome this magnificent exhibition entitled: CARDS AND ENGRAVINGS OF THE DAILY ISTANBUL IN OTTOMAN TURKEY FROM THE XVIth  TO THE XIXth CENTURY.
These works are from the personal collection of the Eken family that Lycée Saint Benoît thanks warmly. Mr. Aykut Eken had the extreme kindness to share with us his engravings.


These engravings are the testimony of a History, a History in which to mechanical manufacturing is added the creation of an artist. Engraving is as much for the esthete as for the general public, it becomes a means of mass communication, sometimes. The first engravings were produced to popularize the works of art. It is very difficult to define engraving as the techniques are numerous. Born during the Renaissance, the engraving has, at its origins, a utilitarian function, little by little this utility function fades in favor of its esthetic possibilities.


The walls of our gallery are proving it tonight.

Whether for the beauty of the locations or because of the history they convey, these engravings bear witness to the rich past of this cradle of humanity that is this magical city of Istanbul.

This city has been abundantly immortalized by its various engravings where reality and imagination mix. It is not enough just to see Istanbul or to represent the reality of this city, it is also essential to dream Istanbul.

Reality and imagination are intertwined in these engravings.


This exhibition is an esthetic sum of feelings, views of the city captured as snapshots, general views, the Bosphorus, mosques, reproductions of buildings such as the “Palais de France”, the main streets where odd works are practiced, and always the ubiquitous Poetry of everyday life in every corner of some of the engravings on display tonight.
These engravings are precious because they immortalize small events, everyday life, small individual stories that fit into the great history of Istanbul.


Moreover these streets come alive, this drive of life is already present in the genes of this city, you will discover a wall dedicated to figures in costumes from plates of the eighteenth, the poetry of everyday life is also expressed around the famous central character: the “Berber”, the unavoidable barber.


This exhibition is also the noble History (with a big H), a wall of the Gallery is devoted to historical scenes from 1859 to 1876 with the opening of the Parliament.
So History…,but also geography with maps, probably dating back to the 16th century, others to Ottoman writing. I do not want to tell everything about this exhibition since engravings are so precious and many and my words would not be yours … because everyone will focus on seeing what he wants and what he feels … they are the ones which will speak to you, they will tell you what they have to say …


I would like to once again thank the Eken Family for this loan, to congratulate Mrs. Hélène Corbières who set up this exhibition; the Communication service which did this event known and all those at Lycée who contributed to the success of this evening. Excellent evening to everybody.

Thank you.

Pierre Gentric