Abdülmecid Efendi's paintings depict historical scenes, animal figures, landscapes, still lifes, and especially portraits; however, he rarely focused on architecture or architectural details. In this regard, Mosque Entrance, in the Sakıp Sabancı Museum Collection, is a rare example.

Osman Hamdi Bey, one of Abdülmecid Efendi's teachers, frequently painted mosque entrances and interior spaces in his paintings, creating vivid scenes by placing figures against monumental backgrounds. The interiors and exteriors of the religious spaces depicted by Osman Hamdi also feature inscriptions on panels and tiles. This painting by Abdülmecid Efendi is an example of these practices.

The painting, dated 1920, features an inner courtyard clad in marble tiles, with two sea-green columns with spoliated Corinthian capitals and two pointed horseshoe arches; one narrow, the other wide. The wide architectural element above the columns and the wall behind it are decorated in geometrically patterned, multicoloured panels. Beneath the wider arch, we can see a half-open wooden door decorated in the kündekari style, with interlocking geometric elements, inlaid with mother-of-pearl and ivory. The arcade that is just visible through this door evokes aspects of early Islamic architecture.Above the door is the Arabic inscription, written in celi sülüs calligraphy, reading "O Great God, who opens all doors, please open for us the door to good fortune." A dark blue curtain hangs from a brass rod placed inside the wide arch, gathered towards the right-hand side of the painting, and tied with a yellow cord. The lower right corner bears the Arabic script "Abdiilmecid bin Abdulaziz Han 1339."

The space depicted in this painting was not identified. The fact that the artist employed elements of early Islamic architecture, belonging to edifices such as the Alhambra Palace in the Andalusian Umayyad city of Granada, or the Great Mosque of Kairouan in North Africa, makes it likely that he took inspiration from photographs he found in books and postcards in his library featuring Islamic architecture. X-rays unveiled that Abdülmecid Efendi revised Mosque Entrance shortly after painting it. The artist had begun work on a male figure, wearing a turban and caftan, standing on a carpet in front of the mosque entrance. Unsatisfied with the result, he later painted over this figure.


Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps