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View of İstanbul

Félix Ziemsecond half of the 19th century

Pera Museum

Pera Museum
Istanbul, Turkey

Rather than presenting a realistic depiction of the city, this particular İstanbul painting of Ziem also reveals the picturesque aspect of life at sea against the backdrop of the city’s silhouette. The composition of the sailboats and marines in the foreground is balanced by the cityscape with a monumental mosque structure in the background. The artist’s use vibrant colors and his efforts to capture the shimmering effects of the constant change of light with a fast, dynamic brushstroke technique dominate the painting. This style has led Ziem to be compared with Impressionist painters, even to be regarded as an artist who foreshadowed the emergence of Impressionism with his work. The use of brilliant sunlight, which is considered as the major contribution of Orientalist painting to European art, is evident in the cityscape in the background. Figures painted with a few brushstrokes appear in the piyade (light rowboat) in the foreground.

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