March 16, 2011

Greek painters of Istanbul remembered in Mayda Saris’ book

A new book titled “İstanbullu Rum Ressamlar” (Greek Painters of İstanbul), by Mayda Saris, is the outcome of painstaking research that spanned around five years, the book offers an extensive look at Greek painters either born in İstanbul or who lived and worked in İstanbul from the 19th century to date.

Art consultant and author Saris currently serves as the art director of the bilingual Armenian-Turkish weekly newspaper Agos. As the author of the books “Başlangıçtan Günümüze Ermeni Resim Sanatı” (Armenian Painting from the Beginning to the Present) and “Mıgırdiç Civanyan -- Bir İstanbul Ressamı” (Jivanian, a Painter of İstanbul), Saris offers a remarkable reference that until now had not existed in any other Turkish resources.

“I started with researching significant artists,” says Saris in an interview with Today’s Zaman. “My target was to reveal what has been kept hidden. And while researching, I realized that there was a confusion of Armenian and Greek artists in many resources. There was a lack of awareness of the issue. While I was preparing my book about Armenian artists, I had received a call from a lieutenant from the İstanbul Beşiktaş Maritime Museum. He requested my help in obtaining information on Armenian artists as the collection of the museum was in an inventory count. They gave me a list of Armenian artists, but the list also included names of Greek artists. They were all confused. Most of those artists were never mentioned in Turkish-language resources. So I started to research Greek artists as well.”

As Saris began her studies, she received tremendous support from various communities. “I talked about my project to Patriarch Bartholomew I, and he supported me very eagerly. He introduced me to Athanasios Papas, art historian and metropolitan of Kadıköy, who had researched and written articles on the subject. He gave me very valuable books that formed a crucial step in my research. Then I started to place ads in newspapers, calling for anybody who had any information, memories, paintings, anything that could be of use. I received much feedback from those ads; there were people calling both from Turkey and overseas. I conducted research in several museums, too. In short, I received help from many different people.”

Read more on Today's Zaman: Greek painters of İstanbul remembered in Mayda Saris’ book

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