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date: 20 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The Ottoman capital of Istanbul was transformed in the eighteenth century by the rise of a new building style that scholars have dubbed “Ottoman Baroque” in reference to its adaptation of European-inspired forms. Challenging the view that the style was derivative and inauthentic, this chapter explains the Ottoman Baroque as a conscious endeavor to refashion Istanbul into a modern city boasting a globally resonant mode of architecture. Such rebranding was part of a larger move to reaffirm the empire’s status in an age of intensified transregional interaction and dialogue. Its cosmopolitanism notwithstanding, the Ottoman Baroque was thoroughly and purposefully localized, even incorporating Byzantine motifs that invoked the Ottomans’ own claim to the Classical artistic heritage of Europe. Contemporary observers, whether native or foreign, wrote in overwhelmingly positive terms about the style, whose popularity proves the Ottomans’ success in crafting a compelling new visual identity for their empire.

Keywords: Ottoman, Baroque, architecture, Istanbul, mosque, Byzantine, eighteenth century

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