“Colours of the Orient, Arts and Lifestyles in the Ottoman Empire” at the Villa Empain, Brussels

By Cornucopia | January 18, 2011

If you happen to be in Brussels between now and 27 February, make sure to pay a visit to the Villa Empain, an Art Deco mansion which houses the headquarters of the Boghossian Foundation. Dedicated to promoting dialogue between East and West, the Foundation is currently presenting an exhibition concerned with the greatest empire to have straddled both Orient and Occident - the Ottomans. "Colours of the Orient" is a truly encyclopedic look at the way in which this empire was both a receiver and transmitter of art and material culture, assimilating elements from as far afield as Western Europe and China into a distinctive imperial style. Over three hundred pieces are on show, covering a period from the sixteenth century, which witnessed the Ottomans coming to terms with the Byzantine inheritance, to the nineteenth, in which the empire was opened up to European influences. These items serve to emphasise not only the vigour of Ottoman art, but also the elements which are particular to it; a high level of refinement, great inventiveness, and a richness of colour and ornament suitable for the richest and most powerful of courts. Special focus is given to the 'golden age' of Ottoman art production, from the sixteenth to the seventeenth centuries, during which vast craft centres were created to produce luxury items - ceramics (above), carpets and textiles, miniatures, glass, and others - for consumption both inside and outside the empire. This promises to be a splendid show, with items drawn from private collections, church treasuries and museums; the accompanying catalogue, in English and French, will no doubt provide an excellent companion piece. Villa Empain, Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 67, 1050 Brussels Admission €10/8/7 10.00-18.30, every day

Posted in Fine Art, Islamic Art Tagged boghossian foundation, brussels, byzantine, carpets, ceramics, china, glass, miniatures, ottoman, textiles, villa empain
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