The Sakıp Sabancı Mardin City Museum, which opened four years ago, is drawing big interest and has been visited by 247,500 people since its opening. The museums is currently hosting one of the most significant names of Dutch painting, Marius Bauer, for the first time in Turkey.
The Sakıp Sabancı Mardin City Museum, which is currently presenting its first international exhibition titled “An Orientalist in Mardin: Marius Bauer” in its Dilek Sabancı Art Gallery, has drawn growing number of visitors since the opening of the exhibition. The museum was visited by 8,500 people in two months.
The museum director, Gani Tarkan, said that the historical structure, which was built in the eastern province of Mardin at the time of the Abdulhamit II to serve as a military post and then served as the tax office, was turned into the Sakıp Sabancı Mardin City Museum after a three-year restoration process.
Tarkan said that the museum, which opened four years ago, drew big interest and was visited by 247,500 people since the opening. He added that they displayed works by a world-famous artist every year in the museum, saying, “Following the exhibitions of Ara Güler and Abidin Dino, we currently host the renowned orientalist Dutch painter Marius Bauer. His works are being exhibited for the first time in Turkey. Since the exhibition opening, 8,500 people visited this fair, which displays 133 works. Within the scope of the exhibition, we also organize education programs for children. With the support of the Mardin Governor’s Office, 1,000 students between the ages of seven and 14 were given painting education.”
With drawings, etchings, water colors, oil paintings and letters, the exhibition takes the visitor on Bauer’s travels through Turkey. Bauer arrived for the first time in Istanbul by boat in 1888. He disembarked and was immediately captivated by the life, the culture and the industriousness that he encountered there. Narrow streets, markets, bazaars and intimate sightlines, full of people engaged in everyday activities: playing music, trading wares, or on their way to or from the mosque.
Occasionally he would catch a glimpse of the Sultan and his retinue. It can be concluded, from the letters that Bauer wrote in Turkey to family and friends, that he undertook long walks every day with his sketchbook under his arm. This resulted in a large number of sketches and drawings that formed the starting point of a great quantity of work when he returned to the Netherlands.
The exhibition is laid out in accordance with the travels and walks that Bauer undertook in Turkey, especially in Istanbul. Visitors can discover what Bauer saw, via the themes of Harbor Views, Cityscapes, Street Life, Bazaars and Markets, Music and Dance, Mosques, Evening Atmosphere, The Sultan and his Retinue, Figures, and A Thousand and One Nights. Each of these themes contains works realized with different techniques and materials, produced on various dates.
The exhibition expresses Bauer’s fascination with life in Turkey at the turn of the 20th century, which he attempted to capture in an occasionally almost romanticized and fairytale manner. It will run until Sept. 21.