Osman Hamdi Bey was born in Istanbul, the eldest son of Grand Vezir İbrahim Edhem Paşa. His father sent him to Paris to study law in 1860, but influenced by the city's flourishing artistic life Osman Hamdi Bey began to study painting, becoming a student of Gustave Boulanger. Under the influence of Boulanger and the celebrated orientalist painter of the time, Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904), Osman Hamdi Bey painted oriental subjects, and his paintings were exhibited at the Paris and London salons. Another genre in which he was interested was portraiture. He painted portraits of family members and friends in a naturalistic style. Osman Hamdi Bey returned from Paris in 1869. In 1881 he transformed the Imperial Museum (today Istanbul Archaeological Museum) into a true archaeological museum. In 1883 he founded the School of Fine Arts and became director of both institutions. In 1884 he rewrote the Regulations Concerning Antiquities, thereby achieving major advances in the protection of Turkey's antiquities and archaeological research.